Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology

, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 40–45 | Cite as

Mild skin photosensitivity in cancer patients following injection of Photochlor (2-[1-hexyloxyethyl]-2-devinyl pyropheophorbide-a; HPPH) for photodynamic therapy

  • David A. Bellnier
  • William R. Greco
  • Hector Nava
  • Gregory M. Loewen
  • Allan R. Oseroff
  • Thomas J. Dougherty
Original Article


Purpose: To measure skin photosensitivity in cancer patients infused with the new second-generation photodynamic sensitizer Photochlor (2-[1-hexyloxyethyl]-2-devinyl pyropheophorbide-a). A major disadvantage of using the clinically approved photosensitizer Photofrin is potentially prolonged and sometimes severe cutaneous phototoxicity. Patients and methods: Forty-eight patients enrolled in Phases 1 and 2 clinical trials underwent two or more exposures to four graded doses (44.4, 66.6, 88.8 or 133.2 J/cm2) of artificial solar-spectrum light (SSL) before and after administration of Photochlor at a dose of 2.5, 3, 4, 5 or 6 mg/m2 . Results: The most severe skin response, experienced by only six of the subjects, was limited to erythema without edema and could only be elicited by exposure to the highest light dose. Conversely, eight subjects had no discernible reaction to SSL at any light dose. For nearly all the patients, the peak skin response was obtained when the interval between sensitizer injection and exposure to SSL was 1 day and, generally, their sensitivity to SSL decreased with increasing sensitizer-light interval. For example, a 2-day sensitizer-SSL interval resulted in less severe reactions than those obtained with the 1-day interval in 79% of the subjects, while 90% of the subjects exposed to SSL 3 days after Photochlor infusion had responses that were less severe than those obtained with either the 1- or 2-day sensitizer-SSL interval. Conclusions: Photochlor, at clinically effective antitumor doses, causes only mild skin photosensitivity that declines rapidly over a few days.


HPPH Photochemotherapy Photodynamic therapy Photofrin Phototoxicity Solar simulator 



This study was supported in part by NIH Grant PO155791 and the Oncologic Foundation of Buffalo, and utilized core facilities supported in part by Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s National Cancer Institute-funded Cancer Center Support Grant CA16056. The authors wish to thank Leroy Wood, Kenneth R. Keymel and Adam Sumlin for performing the clinical phototests, and Dr. Ian MacDonald for helpful suggestions in preparing this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Bellnier
    • 1
  • William R. Greco
    • 2
  • Hector Nava
    • 3
  • Gregory M. Loewen
    • 4
  • Allan R. Oseroff
    • 5
  • Thomas J. Dougherty
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cell Stress Biology (Photodynamic Therapy Center)Roswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Cancer Prevention & Population SciencesRoswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryRoswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA
  4. 4.Department of MedicineRoswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA
  5. 5.Department of DermatologyRoswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA

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