Journal of Radiotherapy in Practice

Original Article

Correlation of six-minute walk test, pulmonary function test and radiation pneumonitis in the management of carcinoma of oesophagus: A prospective pilot study

Sheh Rawata1, Gaurav Kumara1 c1, Abhishek Puria1, Manoj Kumar Sharmaa1, Anjali Kakriaa1 and Pankaj Kumara1

a1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi, India


Purpose: To correlate six-minute walk test (6MWT) and pulmonary function test (PFT) with incidence of radiation pneumonitis (RP) while treating patients with oesophageal cancer with conformal radiotherapy.

Methods: Forty-five patients were selected to the study protocol. Pulmonary evaluation was done objectively by chest x-ray (CXR), 6MWT and PFT and subjectively by symptoms of cough, dyspnoea and fatigue. These tests were performed before radiation and then repeated at 1, 3, 6 and 9 months after treatment. The dose-volume histogram (DVH) was used to derive doses received by lung and organs at risk. χ2-test was used for calculating the p value.

Results: The walk distance change (WDC) correlated with the changes in PFT values (p = 0.001) were done at 3 and 9 months after radiation, respectively. V30 values of ≥20% correlated with the incidence of acute pneumonitis (p = 0.007). 6MVT/vital capacity (VC) values of ≤4 ft/l had a correlation with the incidence of clinically symptomatic RP at 9 months.

Conclusion: 6MWT and PFT are supplementary to each other for assessing the lung function status; but their individual role in predicting RP is weak. However, they are complementary to each other in assessing the risk of radiation-induced lung dysfunction.

(Online publication November 16 2010)


c1 Correspondence to: Gaurav Kumar, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Sector 5, New Delhi, India. Tel: +91-11-47022222; Fax: +91-11-27051037; E-mail: