Objectives: To provide an overview on the methodology and clinical relevance of fluorescence diagnosis with exogenous fluorochromes or fluorochrome prodrugs in urology.
Methods: The methodology is summarised on the basis of our experience and the relevant literature. Clinical results and perspectives are reported and concluded after we scanned and evaluated sources from PubMed. Search items were "aminolev*" or "hypericin" or "photodyn*" or "porphyrin" or "fluorescence" or "autofluorescence" and "bladder" or "prostate" or "kidney" or "peni*" or "condylo*". Some literature was also obtained from journals not indexed.
Results: A large number of clinical trials have shown that photodynamic diagnosis (PDD) improves the ability to detect inconspicuous urothelial carcinoma of the bladder. Fluorescence diagnosis has recently been approved in Europe for the detection of bladder cancer after instillation of a hexaminolevulinate (Hexvix) solution. PDD is recommended by the European Association of Urology for the diagnosis of carcinoma in situ of the bladder. To date, the major weakness of PDD for the detection of bladder cancer is its relatively low specificity. Initial results with PDD for the detection of penile carcinoma, prostate cancer, kidney tumours, and urethral condylomata are promising.
Conclusions: To determine the actual impact of PDD on recurrence and progression rates of bladder cancer, further long-term observational studies are necessary. These studies also will clarify whether PDD is cost efficient.