Particle size should be optimized to achieve targeted and extended drug delivery to the affected tissues. We describe here the effects of the mean particle size on the pharmacokinetics and photothrombic activity of meso-tetra(carboxyphenyl)porphyrin (TCPP), which is encapsulated into biodegradable nanoparticles based on poly(d,l-lactic acid). Four batches of nanoparticles with different mean sizes ranging from 121 to 343 nm, were prepared using the emulsification-diffusion technique. The extravasations of each TCPP-loaded nanoparticle formulation from blood vessels were measured, as well as the extent of photochemically induced vascular occlusion. These preclinical tests were carried out in the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) of the chicken's embryo. Fluorescence microscopy showed that both the effective leakage of TCPP from the CAM blood vessels and its photothrombic efficiency were dependent on the size of the nanoparticle drug carrier. Indeed, the TCPP fluorescence contrast between the blood vessels and the surrounding tissue increased at the applied conditions, when the particle size decreased. This suggests that large nanoparticles are more rapidly eliminated from the bloodstream. In addition, after injection of a drug dose of 1mg/kg body weight and a drug-light application interval of 1 min, irradiation with a fluence of 10J/cm(2) showed that the extent of vascular damage gradually decreased when the particle size increased. The highest photothrombic efficiency was observed when using the TCPP-loaded nanoparticles batch with a mean diameter of 121 nm. Thus, in this range of applied conditions, for the treatment of for instance a disease like choroidal neovascularization (CNV) associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), these experiments suggest that the smallest nanoparticles may be considered as the optimal formulation since they exhibited the greatest extent of vascular thrombosis as well as the lowest extravasation.