Thoracic radiation-induced pleural effusion and risk factors in patients with lung cancer

Jing Zhao, Regina M. Day, JianYue Jin, Leslie Quint, Hadyn T Williams, Catherine Lowrie Ferguson, Li Yan, Maurice King, Ahmad Albsheer, Martha Matuszak, Feng Ming Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The risk factors and potential practice implications of radiation-induced pleural effusion (RIPE) are undefined. This study examined lung cancer patients treated with thoracic radiation therapy (TRT) having follow-up computed tomography (CT) or 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET)/CT. Increased volumes of pleural effusion after TRT without evidence of tumor progression was considered RIPE. Parameters of lung dose-volume histogram including percent volumes irradiated with 5-55 Gy (V5-V55) and mean lung dose (MLD) were analyzed by receiver operating characteristic analysis. Clinical and treatment-related risk factors were detected by univariate and multivariate analyses. 175 out of 806 patients receiving TRT with post-treatment imaging were included. 51 patients (24.9%) developed RIPE; 40 had symptomatic RIPE including chest pain (47.1%), cough (23.5%) and dyspnea (35.3%). Female (OR = 0.380, 95% CI: 0.156-0.926, p = 0.033) and Caucasian race (OR = 3.519, 95% CI: 1.327-9.336, p = 0.011) were significantly associated with lower risk of RIPE. Stage and concurrent chemotherapy had borderline significance (OR = 1.665, p = 0.069 and OR = 2.580, p = 0.080, respectively) for RIPE. Patients with RIPE had significantly higher whole lung V5-V40, V50 and MLD. V5 remained as a significant predictive factor for RIPE and symptomatic RIPE (p = 0.007 and 0.022) after adjusting for race, gender and histology. To include, the incidence of RIPE is notable. Whole lung V5 appeared to be the most significant independent risk factor for symptomatic RIPE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97623-97632
Number of pages10
Issue number57
StatePublished - 2017


  • Lung cancer
  • Overall survival
  • Radiation induced pleural effusion
  • Risk factors
  • Thoracic radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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