The photodynamic detection of mucosal abnormality in oral cancer patients: A pilot study

Martin O'Dwyer, Graham Ogden, Stuart McLaren, Miles Padgett

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Patients who have had one oral cancer are at increased risk of developing a semi-malignant tumour. The detecting of oral cancer is made difficult (and is often delayed) by the unknown appearance of the early oral lesion. A technique that could reliably detect early cancers would be useful to the oral and dental health specialist. One possible technique is the use of a photosensitiser that may be preferentially taken up by cancerous cells. 5-aminolaevulinic acid (ALA) is one such drug that is converted to Protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) and fluoresces at 636nm when illuminated with light of wavelength 405nm. It has been hypothesized that cell inclined towards malignant change would have a higher metabolic rate, and thus convert more ALA into its metabolite PpIX. These drugs can then be detected using a technique called Photodynamic detection, through the analysis of their fluorescence spectra. We describe a pilot study that used a compact spectroscopic instrument designed to excite and measure fluorescence in the oral cavity. Some Inter-subject variation in PpIX time course characteristics may be evident in our volunteers, as has been reported by other researchers. The obtained data would suggest that this instrument may be a valuable tool for detecting early oral cancers. However, further studies are required, not least to ensure that these data are due to detection of ALA metabolite in cancer and not some other systemic effect.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Pages (from-to)159-162
Number of pages4
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2005
EventOptical Fibers and Sensors for Medical Applications V - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 22 Jan 200525 Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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