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November 1990

Photodynamic Therapy in the Treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (Drs Wenig, Kurtzman, and Appelbaum) and Radiology (Drs Grossweiner, Harris, and Lobraico and Mr Prycz), University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, and the Wenske Laser Center, Ravenswood Hospital (Dr Mafee), Chicago, Ill.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1990;116(11):1267-1270. doi:10.1001/archotol.1990.01870110039003

• Photodynamic therapy is an experimental modality for tumor treatment based on the combined action of the tumor-localizing agent, ie, hematoporphyrin derivative, and red light. From 1985 through 1989, 26 patients were treated using hematoporphyrin-derived drugs and 630-nm light delivered by a tunable dye laser. All patients had biopsy-proved squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and they had either failed the traditional treatment modalities or refused conventional therapies. Histological complete responses were achieved in 20 (77%) of 26 patients and partial responses in 5 (19%) of 26 patients for periods up to 48 months. Only minimal toxic reaction was noted in the group. As a guide to treatment planning for a patient group with large tumors, we used an optical dosimetry model based on tissue optics. The rate of complete responses to this treatment was 8 (73%) of 11. Our data indicate that photodynamic therapy is capable of inducing significant clinical and histological responses in the majority of those treated, and in some patients a prolonged response is produced. In certain select head and neck malignancies, photodynamic therapy has an important role as a treatment modality.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1990;116:1267-1270)

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