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February 1998

Photodynamic Therapy for Basal Cell Carcinoma: Effect of Tumor Thickness and Duration of Photosensitizer Application on Response

Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(2):248-249. doi:

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an effective therapy for certain cutaneous malignant tumors.1 Response rates for PDT in basal cell carcinoma (BCC), however, vary widely. Superficial BCC, with complete response rates of 79% to 100%, appears to respond better than noduloulcerative BCC, which has only a 10% to 71% complete response rate.1-4 Therapeutic response to PDT is achieved through the activation of a photosensitizing drug using visible light to produce activated oxygen species within the tissue, resulting in tissue destruction. Local administration of a photosensitizer is now possible by topical application of δ-aminolevulinic acid (δ-ALA), converted within cells to the active agent, protoporphyrin IX. Although lasers have been the usual source of light for PDT, coherent light is not necessary for PDT. We have previously reported the successful treatment of Bowen disease by PDT using a novel portable nonlaser light source and topical application of δ-ALA.5,6