Topical methyl aminolaevulinate photodynamic therapy versus cryotherapy for superficial basal cell carcinoma: a 5 year randomized trial

Nicole Basset-Seguin, Sally H. Ibbotson, Lennart Emtestam, Mikael Tarstedt, Colin Morton, Marianne Maroti, Piergiacomo Calzavara-Pinton, Sandeep Varma, Rik Roelandts, Peter Wolf

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    This multicentre, randomized study compared photodynamic therapy using topical methyl aminolaevulinate (MAL PDT), a non-invasive modality, with cryotherapy for treatment of superficial basal cell carcinoma. Sixty patients with 114 lesions were treated with MAL cream (160 mg/g) applied for 3 hours before illumination (570-670 nm, light dose 75 J/cm) (I session), and 58 with 105 lesions received cryotherapy (2 freeze-thaw cycles). Patients with an incomplete response at 3 months received 2 further MAL PDT sessions (n = 20) or repeat cryotherapy (n = 16). 100 lesions treated with MAL PDT and 93 lesions treated with cryotherapy were in complete response at 3 months after the last treatment and evaluable for recurrence over 5 years. There was no difference in 5-year recurrence rates with either treatment (20% with cryotherapy vs. 22% with MAL PDT, p = 0.86). However, more patients had an excellent cosmetic outcome with MAL PDT (60% vs. 16% with cryotherapy, p = 0.00078). These results provide support for the use of MAL PDT as a non-invasive, selective treatment alternative for primary superficial basal cell carcinoma.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)547-553
    Number of pages7
    JournalEuropean Journal of Dermatology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • methyl aminolaevulinate
    • photodynamic therapy
    • superficial basal cell carcinoma
    • CANCER
    • AGE
    • SKIN

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