Dosimetric analysis of lymphopenia during chemoradiotherapy for esophageal cancer

Neil B. Newman, Joshua L. Anderson, Alexander D. Sherry, Evan C. Osmundson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Lymphopenia during chemoradiation (CRT) for esophageal cancer (EC) can adversely affect clinical outcomes. We sought to explore an association between lymphopenia and dosimetric parameters during CRT for EC. Methods: After IRB approval, we retrospectively reviewed 54 patients treated with either definitive or neoadjuvant CRT for EC. Absolute lymphocyte count was recorded weekly during CRT up and graded according to the common terminology of adverse events (CTCAE) version 4.0. Dose volume histograms (DVH) parameters were collected based on vertebral body, body dose, dose to peripheral lymphocytes, and spleen. Logistic regression correlated Grade 4 toxicity with DVH parameters and linear regression analysis correlated absolute lymphocyte nadir counts with DVH parameters. Receiver operator curves (ROC) were constructed to define dosimetric thresholds. Results: There were a total of 21 Grade 4 events (38.8%) of lymphopenia. Increasing vertebral volume receiving ≥10 Gy (OR 1.1, P=0.04), ≥20 Gy (OR 1.1, P=0.03), ≥30 Gy (OR 1.1, P=0.012), or mean body dose (OR 1.04, P=0.032) were correlated with Grade 4 lymphopenia on multivariable logistic regression. The dosimetric parameters most predictive of Grade 4 toxicity via a ROC analysis included absolute vertebral volume receiving 10 Gy >289 cc, 20 Gy ≥270 cc, and vertebral volumes receiving 30 Gy ≥197 cc. On multivariable linear regression increasing volume receiving 20 Gy (Beta ?0.004, P=0.001), 30 Gy (Beta ?0.005, P=0.0046), and mean body dose (Beta ?0.002, P=0.001) all correlated with absolute lymphocyte nadir. Conclusions: Lymphopenia, a known negative prognostic factor in EC, is closely correlated with the volume of vertebral bodies receiving radiation during CRT for EC. Dosimetric sparing of the vertebral bodies may result in better outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2395-2405
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone marrow
  • Esophageal cancer (EC)
  • Lymphopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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