Evaluation of photodynamic therapy of skin cancers with partial differential alpha-aminolevulinic acid

Shizheng Xu, Xiuli Wang, Wei Xu, Yumin Xia, Chunrong Zhang
Chinese Medical Journal 2002, 115 (8): 1141-5

OBJECTIVE: To use partial differential -aminolevulinic acid induced photodynamic therapy (ALA-PDT) increasingly in treating skin cancers and other diseases in many countries and to explore the efficacy of ALA-PDT for skin cancers in China.

METHODS: Eighty-eight patients, including 34 cases of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), 32 cases of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), two cases of basal-squamous cell carcinoma (BSCC), one case of verrucuous carcinoma, nine cases of Bowen disease, two cases Paget disease of the nipple and eight cases of extramammary Paget disease, were treated by the partial differential alpha-aminolevulinic acid induced photodynamic therapy first in China from 1997 to 2000.

RESULTS: All BCC, including 11 cases of superficial lesions and 29 solid lesions, achieved complete reaction (CR) by 1-4 times of the ALA-PDT. Except one patient with adenoid SCC (grade III), all SCC (grade I and grade II) patients achieved complete remission by 3-6 times of ALA-PDT. All Bowen diseases achieved complete reaction by 1-4 times. Although for Paget diseases it could not cure the disease simply by ALA-PDT, it could control the symptoms. The recurrence rates were 11% (4/34) for BCC, and 22% (7/32) for SCC by following up 1-3 years after the therapy. The continuous therapy is still effective.

CONCLUSIONS: ALA-PDT is an effective, non-traumatic treatment for patients with BCC, SCC, Bowen and Paget diseases. It is especially suitable for older and weaker patients or those who are not tolerable to other therapies. It also has a unique advantage for tumors in specific anatomical areas. It is a new alternative modality for skin cancer therapies.

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