Efficacy of localized phototherapy and photodynamic therapy for psoriasis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2015 Jan;31(1):5-14. doi: 10.1111/phpp.12092. Epub 2013 Dec 20.


Localized phototherapy including topical psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) and targeted ultraviolet B (UVB), and photodynamic therapy (PDT) have been increasingly used in the treatment of localized psoriasis. Yet, there are no systematic reviews or meta-analyses that scientifically evaluated the pooled efficacy of these treatments in psoriasis. We searched Medline, Embase, and Cochrane databases during the period of January 1980 to June 2012. Our systematic search resulted in 765 studies, 23 of them were included in the review. The primary outcome was 75% reduction in severity score from baseline. A meta-analysis using random effect model found topical PUVA to be more effective than non-laser targeted UVB [odds ratio: 3.48 (95% confidence interval 0.56-21.84), P = 0.183]. The pooled effect estimate of the efficacy (75% reduction in severity score) of topical PUVA, targeted UVB, and PDT were as follows: 77% (topical PUVA), 61% (targeted UVB), and 22% (PDT). Topical PUVA and targeted UVB phototherapy are very effective in the treatment of localized psoriasis. Topical PUVA seems more effective than non-laser targeted UVB phototherapy. On the other hand, PDT has low efficacy and high percentage of side effects in treating localized psoriasis.

Keywords: excimer; localized NB-UVB; photodynamic therapy; targeted UVB phototherapy; topical PUVA.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • PUVA Therapy / methods*
  • Photochemotherapy / methods*
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / pathology