Photodynamic therapy for pancreatic cancer

Pancreas. 2007 May;34(4):385-9. doi: 10.1097/mpa.0b013e3180439c50.


Objectives: This study examined the status of photodynamic therapy (PDT) in the treatment of cancers of the pancreas.

Methods: Original and review articles, editorials, and case reports published primarily in English and listed in Medline/ISI up to October 2006 or identified by a manual search have been reviewed in an attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of the mechanisms of PDT action and clinical application of PDT in the treatment of pancreatic cancers.

Results: Photodynamic therapy represents a novel treatment of pancreatic malignancy; it produces local necrosis of tissue with light after administration of a photosensitizing agent. Evidences from in vivo and in vitro results have shown that PDT significantly decreases pancreatic cancer cell growth, destroys pancreatic carcinoma, and prolongs the survival of patients with unresectable pancreatic malignancy, and also show that PDT has disadvantages and limitations for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Conclusions: Photodynamic therapy can be an effective treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer, but more extensive preclinical and clinical trials are needed for further improvement in the clinical application of PDT, especially in avoidance of complications during PDT.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Necrosis
  • Pancreas / drug effects
  • Pancreas / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Photochemotherapy* / adverse effects
  • Photochemotherapy* / methods
  • Photosensitizing Agents / adverse effects
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Photosensitizing Agents