Objective: To report a phase-1 study of patients with recurrent superficial bladder cancer treated with photodynamic therapy (PDT) using sequential mitomycin C and 5-aminolaevulinic acid (ALA).
Patients and methods: Twenty-four patients were treated, the primary endpoint being the safety and tolerability of combined therapy at increasing doses of ALA and light.
Results: Mitomycin C instillation was followed by ALA concentrations of 6%, 8% or 10%; there was no effect on toxicity. The light dose, at a wavelength of 635 nm, was increased from zero to 25 J/cm(2), with the upper fluences producing transient symptoms. There were no episodes of skin photosensitivity or systemic toxicity. A total fluence of 25 J/cm(2) represented the upper light dose for the tolerability of this procedure by patients. There were no persistently high urinary symptom scores or reduction in functional bladder capacity up to > or =24 months of follow-up. In this group, cumulative tumour recurrences were none at 4, two at 8, six at 12, nine at 18 and 11 at 24 months after PDT, respectively.
Conclusion: Sequential mitomycin C and ALA-PDT is a safe and well tolerated treatment, with potential for managing difficult-to-control superficial transitional cell carcinoma and carcinoma in situ of the bladder.