Aminolevulinic acid (ALA): photodynamic detection and potential therapeutic applications

J Surg Res. 2013 May;181(2):262-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2013.02.002. Epub 2013 Feb 24.


Aminolevulinic acid (ALA) is a heme precursor that may have potential applications for photodynamic detection and photodynamic therapy-based treatment of solid tumors in a variety of malignancies. ALA may have a role in other applications in surgical oncology based on its ability to discriminate neoplastic tissue from adjacent normal tissue. In this review, we provide a comprehensive summary of the published studies of ALA in noncutaneous solid malignancies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aminolevulinic Acid* / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Administration Routes
  • Drug Approval
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Photochemotherapy*
  • Photosensitizing Agents* / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Aminolevulinic Acid