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January 1992

Photodynamic Laser Therapy

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1992;118(1):15-16. doi:10.1001/archotol.1992.01880010017006

Photodynamic laser therapy is an experimental method of treatment for basal cell carcinoma that has been used in its current form since 1976. A drug is given intravenously and is selectively retained by skin cancers 48 hours later. A laser is then utilized to catalyze a photochemical reaction within the drug-containing tumor cells, which results in tumor death in the skin cancer. The treatment is particularly appealing because it is relatively selective, causing necrosis of the drug-containing tumor while preserving normal tissue that does not contain the drug.

Photodynamic therapy has been used by various investigators to treat skin cancer. While most have noted that disfigurement is markedly reduced, different results have been reported as to its efficacy. Recent advances in treatment appear to have increased treatment efficacy.

Photodynamic therapy is extremely complex and has many variables in the treatment process. These include the type of drug injected, the drug

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