Guidelines for topical photodynamic therapy: report of a workshop of the British Photodermatology Group

C. A. Morton, S. B. Brown, S. Collins, S. Ibbotson, H. Jenkinson, H. Kurwa, K. Langmack, K. McKenna, H. Moseley, A. D. Pearse, M. Stringer, D. K. Taylor, G. Wong, L. E. Rhodes

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    436 Citations (Scopus)


    Topical photodynamic therapy (PDT) is effective in the treatment of certain non-melanoma skin cancers and is under evaluation in other dermatoses. Its development has been enhanced by a low rate of adverse events and good cosmesis. 5-Aminolaevulinic acid (ALA) is the main agent used, converted within cells into the photosensitizer protoporphyrin IX, with surface illumination then triggering the photodynamic reaction. Despite the relative simplicity of the technique, accurate dosimetry in PDT is complicated by multiple variables in drug formulation, delivery and duration of application, in addition to light-specific parameters. Several non-coherent and coherent light sources are effective in PDT. Optimal disease-specific irradiance, wavelength and total dose characteristics have yet to be established, and are compounded by difficulties comparing light sources. The carcinogenic risk of ALA-PDT appears to be low. Current evidence indicates topical PDT to be effective in actinic keratoses on the face and scalp, Bowen's disease and superficial basal cell carcinomas (BCCs). PDT may prove advantageous where size, site or number of lesions limits the efficacy and/or acceptability of conventional therapies. Topical ALA-PDT alone is a relatively poor option for both nodular BCCs and squamous cell carcinomas. Experience of the modality in other skin diseases remains limited; areas where there is potential benefit include viral warts, acne, psoriasis and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. A recent British Photodermatology Group workshop considered published evidence on topical PDT in order to establish guidelines to promote the efficacy and safety of this increasingly practised treatment modality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)552-567
    Number of pages16
    JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Keratosis
    • Precancerous Conditions
    • Skin Diseases
    • Humans
    • Photochemotherapy
    • Carcinoma, Basal Cell
    • Skin Neoplasms
    • Aminolevulinic Acid
    • Health Care Costs
    • Bowen's Disease
    • Photosensitizing Agents
    • Radiometry
    • Light


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