Photodynamic therapy of virus-associated epithelial tumours of the face in organ transplant recipients
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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).
KeywordsOrgan recipients Immunosuppression Skin tumours ALA-based photodynamic therapy
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