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The issue of toxicity is a primary concern for chest irradiation, because it is a dose-limiting toxicity and because in some circumstances it can alleviate the survival benefit of radiation therapy. Potential acute and delayed side effects can compromise the patients’ prognosis and generate significant morbidity. Here we review on chest complications of radiation therapy, with focus on cardiac and pulmonary radio-induced side effects. Most radiographic changes associated with thoracic irradiation are asymptomatic. However, chest irradiation generated by treatment of breast cancer, bronchopulmonary malignancies, or mediastinal lymphoma has been associated with a risk of acute radiation pneumonitis and late lung fibrosis. An increasing number of clinical studies suggest that some dosimetric factors (e.g. V20, V30, mean lung dose) should be considered for limiting the risk of lung toxicity. Improvements in radiation techniques as well as changes in indications, volumes and prescribed doses of radiation therapy should help to better spare lungs from irradiation and thus decreasing the risk of subsequent toxicity. Numerous other contributing factors should also be considered, such as chemotherapeutic agents, smoking, tumor topography, or intrinsic sensitivity. Cardiac toxicity is another clinically relevant issue in patients receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer or for lymphoma. This life threatening toxicity should be analyzed in the light of dosimetric factors (including low doses) but also associated systemic agents which almost carry a potential for additive toxicity toward myocardium or coronaries. A long-term follow-up of patients as well as an increasing knowledge of the underlying biological pathways involved in cardiac toxicity should help designing effective preventing strategies.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.