Characteristics and predictive factors of early-onset diarrhoea during pelvic irradiation

E. Y. Huang*, C. J. Wang, H. C. Hsu, L. M. Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study reported characteristics and predictive factors of early-onset diarrhoea in patients receiving pelvic irradiation. We retrospectively reviewed 229 patients undergoing radiotherapy alone for cervical or uterine cancer. Oral barium was taken 90 min before simulation. According to contrast medium within small intestine only or colon in simulation films, we categorised patients as normal and rapid transit groups. Small or large volume of small-bowel was also evaluated according to barium distribution of simulation films. Whole-pelvic irradiation (39.6-45 Gy/22-25 fractions) was delivered to all patients initially. We recorded the onset of diarrhoea during pelvic irradiation. The rates of early-onset diarrhoea (<10 Gy) were compared between these two groups. The incidence of diarrhoea before 10 Gy was 7% and 17% (P=0.138) in patients with normal and rapid transit, respectively. In multivariate analysis, interaction among rapid transit, prior abdomen operation and large small-bowel volume (p=0.019) were noted for early-onset diarrhoea. Further subgroup analysis revealed that rapid transit (p=0.046) was a significant factor in patients with both prior abdominal operation and large small-bowel volume. The incidence of early-onset diarrhoea was as high as 40% in this particular group. Patients experiencing early-onset diarrhoea had a higher incidence of moderate to severe diarrhoea (65%) than those without early-onset diarrhoea (23%) (p<0.001). In multivariate analysis, early-onset diarrhoea was the only factor of moderate to severe diarrhoea (P=0.001). In conclusion, rapid small-bowel transit may be predisposed to early-onset diarrhoea during pelvic radiotherapy in patients with both prior abdominal operations and large small-bowel volume. Early-onset diarrhoea is considered as a predictive factor of diarrhoea of a higher grade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-424
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number941
StatePublished - 05 2006


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