JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
REVIEW
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The role of oxygen in cutaneous photodynamic therapy.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is based on the dye-sensitized photooxidation of biological matter in the target tissue, and utilizes light activated drugs for the treatment of a wide variety of malignancies. Skin is a target organ for PDT, because of the increasing incidence of skin cancers and the easy accessibility to photosensitizing drugs and light. Skin oxygen tension changes dramatically during and after PDT and seems to be an important treatment parameter. Experimental approaches to modulate oxygen tension (e.g., hyperbaric oxygenation, hyperthermia, or perfluorocarbons) have been studied mainly in animals, and some of these techniques may have the potential to be applied in humans to improve the efficacy and safety of PDT. The main purpose of this review is to provide the reader with current information on cutaneous oxygen physiology and oximetry, the role of oxygen and singlet oxygen (1O2) in PDT, and approaches to modulate skin oxygen tension. The literature indicates that it may be possible to utilize transcutaneous oxygen measurements as a valuable measure of the clinical effectiveness of PDT and as an in situ predictor of the energy required to elicit a biological response. Consequently the effectiveness of PDT can be manipulated by modulating skin oxygen tension.

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