Methylene blue in photodynamic therapy: From basic mechanisms to clinical applications

Photodiagnosis Photodyn Ther. 2005 Sep;2(3):175-91. doi: 10.1016/S1572-1000(05)00097-9. Epub 2005 Nov 21.


Methylene blue (MB) is a molecule that has been playing important roles in microbiology and pharmacology for some time. It has been widely used to stain living organisms, to treat methemoglobinemia, and lately it has been considered as a drug for photodynamic therapy (PDT). In this review, we start from the fundamental photophysical, photochemical and photobiological characteristics of this molecule and evolved to show in vitro and in vivo applications related to PDT. The clinical cases shown include treatments of basal cell carcinoma, Kaposi's Sarcoma, melanoma, virus and fungal infections. We concluded that used together with a recently developed continuous light source (RL50(®)), MB has the potential to treat a variety of cancerous and non-cancerous diseases, with low toxicity and no side effects.