Radiotherapy has significantly improved the survival of cancer patients but is also associated with several adversities, including radiation-induced carotid injury (RICI). The RICI mechanisms are complex, including vessel inflammatory injury, carotid atherosclerosis, intimal proliferation, media necrosis, and peri-adventitial fibrosis. The main manifestation and adverse consequence of RICI is carotid artery stenosis (CAS), which can lead to stroke and transient ischemic attack. Currently, carotid artery injury is primarily diagnosed via color-coded duplex sonography. Early detection of traumatic changes in the carotid artery depends on measurements of carotid intima-media thickness; serum biomarker testing also shows great potential. CAS is mainly treated with carotid endarterectomy or carotid angioplasty and stent implantation. Notably, bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells are advantageous in RICI treatment and reduce carotid inflammation, oxidative stress, and delaying atherosclerosis. This review summarizes the mechanisms, examination methods, and latest treatments for RICI to provide data for its clinical prevention and treatment.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.

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