Development of an alternative light source to lasers for photodynamic therapy: 3. Clinical evaluation in the treatment of pre-malignant non-melanoma skin cancer


The efficacy of a prototype non-laser light source for photodynamic therapy was assessed in clinical practice in the treatment of Bowen's disease and actinic keratoses. The light source, incorporating a 300 W short arc plasma discharge, was adjusted by appropriate filters to produce a bandwidth of 630±15 nm. Topical 5-aminolaevulinic acid was applied 4 h before irradiation to permit production within the lesion of the active photosensitizer, protoporphyrin IX. Individual lesions received 94–156 J cm−2. Twenty lesions of Bowen's disease and four actinic keratoses were treated in 12 patients. Patients were reviewed at monthly intervals and treatment repeated if residual disease was present. Clearance was achieved with a single treatment in 15 lesions and in all of the remaining nine lesions after a second treatment. The treatment was well tolerated, with pain absent or mild during treatment in 22 lesions, with only one lesion requiring local anaesthesia. Over the 10 days following treatment, no pain was associated with 21 treated lesions. During a 12 month follow-up period, two Bowen's disease lesions recurred. The overall complete response rate was 92%. Scarring was evident following PDT in only three lesions. Photodynamic therapy using this portable non-laser light source appears to be an effective and well-tolerated treatment for Bowen's disease and actinic keratoses.

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Correspondence to C. A. Morton.

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Morton, C.A., Whitehurst, C., Moseley, H. et al. Development of an alternative light source to lasers for photodynamic therapy: 3. Clinical evaluation in the treatment of pre-malignant non-melanoma skin cancer. Laser Med Sci 10, 165–171 (1995).

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Key words

  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Non-laser light source
  • 5-Aminolaevulinic acid
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer