Background: Self-expandable esophageal stents are increasingly used for palliation or as an adjunct to chemoradiation for esophageal neoplasia. The optimal esophageal stent design and material to minimize dose perturbation with external beam radiation are unknown. We sought to quantify the deviation from intended radiation dose as a function of stent material and mesh density design. Methods: A laboratory dosimetric film model was used to quantify perturbation of intended radiation dose among 16 different esophageal stents with varying material and stent mesh density design. Results: Radiation dose enhancement due to stent backscatter ranged from 0% to 7.3%, collectively representing a standard difference from the intended mean radiation dose of 1.9 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.5-2.2). This enhancement was negligible for polymer-based stents and approached 0% for the biodegradable stents. In contrast, all metal alloy stents had significant radiation backscatter; this was largely determined by the density of mesh design and not by the type of alloy used. Conclusions: Stent characteristics should be considered when selecting the optimal stent for treatment and palliation of malignant esophageal strictures, especially when adjuvant or neo-adjuvant radiotherapy is planned.
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