Photodynamic therapy for treatment of solid tumors--potential and technical challenges

Technol Cancer Res Treat. 2008 Aug;7(4):309-20. doi: 10.1177/153303460800700405.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) involves the administration of photosensitizer followed by local illumination with visible light of specific wavelength(s). In the presence of oxygen molecules, the light illumination of photosensitizer can lead to a series of photochemical reactions and consequently the generation of cytotoxic species. The quantity and location of PDT-induced cytotoxic species determine the nature and consequence of PDT. Much progress has been seen in both basic research and clinical application in recent years. Although the majority of approved PDT clinical protocols have primarily been used for the treatment of superficial lesions of both malignant and non-malignant diseases, interstitial PDT for the ablation of deep-seated solid tumors are now being investigated worldwide. The complexity of the geometry and non-homogeneity of solid tumor pose a great challenge on the implementation of minimally invasive interstitial PDT and the estimation of PDT dosimetry. This review will discuss the recent progress and technical challenges of various forms of interstitial PDT for the treatment of parenchymal and/or stromal tissues of solid tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Light
  • Medical Oncology / methods
  • Medical Oncology / trends
  • Models, Statistical
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Photochemotherapy / methods*
  • Photochemotherapy / trends
  • Photosensitizing Agents / pharmacology
  • Radiometry


  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Oxygen