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Photodynamic Therapy: The Light Treatment for Cutaneous Non- Melanoma Malignancies

[ Vol. 12 , Issue. 2 ]


Edward Yu   Pages 124 - 137 ( 14 )


Photodynamic therapy has many treatment applications for malignant and premalignant lesions of the skin. The basic principle involves application of a photosensitizer followed by exposure of the target tissues to light. 5-aminolevulinic acid is a natural occurring compound in the heme biosynthesis pathway. Its metabolite protoporphyrin IX is a photosensitizer that has the ability to selectively damage premalignant, malignant, and certain abnormal tissues, rendering its wide application for use in actinic keratosis, Bowen’s disease, and basal cell carcinoma. Adequate lesion preparation is critical for successful treatment. Ongoing research on the clinical use of photodynamic therapy, its potential impact in oncological patient management and on public health and cost is continuously evolving. The perfection of this light therapy on patient treatment awaits results of future clinical trials.


Non-melanoma, photodynamic therapy, photosensitizers, skin cancer, treatment.


Departments of Oncology and Medical Biophysics, Western University, London Regional Cancer Program, London Health Science Center, 790 Commissioners Road East, London, Ontario, Canada, N6A-4L6.

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