Photodynamic therapy of virus-associated epithelial tumours of the face in organ transplant recipients

  • Peter Schleier
  • Peter Hyckel
  • Alexander Berndt
  • Hans-Peter Bode
  • Volker Albrecht
  • Winfried Hindermann
  • Hartwig Kosmehl
  • Witold Zenk
  • Dieter Schumann
Original Paper



The benefit for organ recipients is still counteracted by the side effects of immunosuppression. Among other effects, there is a 50–250 times increased risk of developing malignant skin tumours. Because these malignomas are known to develop particularly aggressivly, there is a special need for an efficient therapy. Here we demonstrate the treatment response to aminolaevulinic acid (ALA)-based photodynamic therapy (PDT) in these patients.


Five organ recipients with multiple tumours of the face were multifocally treated with ALA-PDT (32 tumours in all). After topical application of ALA using a thermogel, irradiation was done with a 635 nm diode laser (Ceralas 635, Biolitec, Jena, Germany). After intervals of 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 12 weeks, therapeutic efficacy was assessed.


There was complete remission in 24 tumours (75%). In six tumours (18.8%) a second or third PDT session was necessary for complete clinical remission. In two tumours (5.6%, invasive squamous cell carcinomas) the lesions were refractory to PDT.


ALA-PDT is a valuable therapeutic alternative for the treatment of multifocal skin tumours in organ-transplanted patients. Furthermore, we see a growing role of ALA-PDT also for patients with frequently relapsing tumours of the skin with known genetically determined tumourigenesis (Gorlin-Goltz syndrome).


Organ recipients Immunosuppression Skin tumours ALA-based photodynamic therapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Schleier
    • 1
  • Peter Hyckel
    • 1
  • Alexander Berndt
    • 2
  • Hans-Peter Bode
    • 3
  • Volker Albrecht
    • 3
  • Winfried Hindermann
    • 2
  • Hartwig Kosmehl
    • 4
  • Witold Zenk
    • 1
  • Dieter Schumann
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinic of Maxillofacial Surgery/Plastic SurgeryFriedrich Schiller UniversityJenaGermany
  2. 2.Institute of PathologyFriedrich Schiller UniversityJenaGermany
  3. 3.BiolitecJenaGermany
  4. 4.Institute of PathologyHELIOS-Klinikum ErfurtErfurtGermany

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