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February 1996

Photodynamic Therapy of Pigmented Choroidal Melanomas Using a Liposomal Preparation of Benzoporphyrin Derivative

Author Affiliations

From the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston. The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary has a proprietary interest in this technology under a research agreement with Coherent Inc, Palo Alto, Calif, and as part of a patent application.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1996;114(2):186-192. doi:10.1001/archopht.1996.01100130180013

Objective:  To evaluate the effectiveness of photodynamic therapy of pigmented choroidal melanoma using a liposomal preparation of benzoporphyrin derivative monoacid (BPD), verteporfin.

Design:  Pigmented choroidal melanomas were established in 25 New Zealand albino rabbit eyes. The animals were treated with daily injections of cyclosporine, and tumor growth was monitored with funduscopic examination and ultrasonography. Fifteen minutes after intravenous injection of BPD (2 mg/kg), the tumors were irradiated at 692 nm through an argon-pumped dye laser with the delivered fluence ranging between 40 and 150 J/cm2. Control animals were treated with light only, photosensitizer only, or observation only. Tumor growth was monitored by indirect ophthalmoscopy, fundus photography, fluorescein angiography, and ultrasonography. Histologic examination was performed.

Results:  Eighteen tumor-bearing rabbits were treated with light and BPD; 16 were followed up for 1 month, and two were killed immediately for histologic examination. Tumors regressed in all eyes treated with 60 J/cm2 or more. With fluence of 40 J/cm2, tumor regrowth was observed in one animal within 10 days of treatment. In the three control groups, all animals showed continuous tumor growth. Histologic examination of the eyes treated with photosensitizer and light immediately after treatment showed prominent vascular occlusion throughout the full thickness of the tumor. One month after treatment, tumor necrosis and infiltration of mononuclear cells and pigment-laden macrophages were the predominant findings.

Conclusions:  Photodynamic therapy with BPD may have a role in the treatment of pigmented choroidal melanomas.