Fluorescence and thermal imaging of non-melanoma skin cancers before and during photodynamic therapy

Paul O'Mahoney (Lead / Corresponding author), Ifor D. W. Samuel, Ewan Eadie, Sally Ibbotson

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Background: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been shown to be less effective on the extremities. Protoporphyrin-IX (PpIX) fluorescence and skin surface temperature are variables that have been implicated in the differences in efficacy with body site, but objective studies have not been undertaken.

Objectives: To further investigate observations from our previous study that temperature and fluorescence during pro-drug incubation are correlated, through a prospective objective investigation of the relationships between fluorescence and skin surface temperature before and during PDT and relationships with body site and efficacy. Methods: Eighteen patients with Bowen's disease or basal cell carcinoma, who had been referred for PDT, were recruited to this study. PpIX fluorescence and thermal measurements were recorded at intervals during the pro-drug incubation and irradiation phases of PDT. Pain immediately after irradiation, and outcome at 3- and 12-months were recorded.

Results: Temperature and PpIX fluorescence were higher on the trunk than lower leg immediately before treatment (median temperature 32.7 °C vs. 27.8 °C, p < 0.05 and median fluorescence 16.5 vs. 6.7, p < 0.05). Higher pain levels were reported during PDT on the extremities (median 5.7 vs. 2.2, p < 0.05). Clearance rates at 12-months were 80 %.

Conclusions: The study supports a correlation between temperature and PpIX fluorescence during PDT, providing robust objective data to support our previous hypothesis and observations. The higher pain levels, lower PpIX fluorescence on the lower leg, and the high efficacy rates at all body sites irrespective of temperature and fluorescence indicates that relationships between PDT treatment conditions and parameters is likely to be multifactorial.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102327
Number of pages6
JournalPhotodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy
Early online date4 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Photodynamic therapy
  • non-melanoma skin cancer
  • fluorescence
  • temperature
  • Temperature
  • Fluorescence
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Dermatology
  • Biophysics
  • Oncology


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