Use of photodynamic therapy in the palliation of massive advanced rectal cancer
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a relatively new form of cancer therapy utilizing a photosensitizer such as hematoporphyrin derivative. We conducted a pilot study to determine the efficacy of its use in palliating advanced rectal cancer, to determine toxicity, and to establish objective outcome criteria. Six patients with very advanced, usually recurrent rectal cancer were treated with PDT after being photosensitized with Photofrin II®. A protocol was established to measure clinical and radiologic response to therapy. A new intraluminal delivery system was incorporated. Five patients had both clinical and radiologic responses to therapy. In two patients we observed such significant responses that they cannot be accounted for on a photobiologic basis alone. One patient developed a significant sunburn after discharge. There was no major toxicity of bleeding or sepsis even at maximum doses (200 J/cm2). We are confident that PDT has a role to play in rectal cancer and speculate as to future applications.
Key wordsRectal cancer PDT Palliation
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