The Use of Photodynamic Therapy in the Treatment of Brain Tumors-A Review of the Literature

Molecules. 2022 Oct 13;27(20):6847. doi: 10.3390/molecules27206847.


The treatment of neoplastic disease of the brain is still a challenge for modern medicine. Therefore, advanced methodologies are needed that can rationally and successfully contribute to the early diagnosis of primary and metastatic tumors growing within the brain. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) seems to be a valuable method of treatment for precancerous and cancerous lesions including brain tumors. The main advantage of PDT is its high efficiency, minimal invasiveness and no serious side effects, compared with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This review was conducted through a comprehensive search of articles, scientific information databases and the websites of organizations dealing with cancer treatment. Key points from clinical trials conducted by other researchers are also discussed. The common databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, EBSCO, Scopus, and Elsevier were used. Articles in the English language of reliable credibility were mainly analyzed. The type of publications considered included clinical and preclinical studies, systematic reviews, and case reports. Based on these collected materials, we see that scientists have already demonstrated the potential of PDT application in the field of brain tumors. Therefore, in this review, the treatment of neoplasm of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the most common tumor, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), have been explored. In addition, an overview of the general principles of PDT, as well as the mechanism of action of the therapy as a therapeutic platform for brain tumors, is described. The research was carried out in June 2022.

Keywords: 5-aminolevulinic acid; brain tumor; glioblastoma multiforme; photodynamic therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Glioblastoma* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Photochemotherapy* / methods
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use


  • Photosensitizing Agents

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.