Photodynamic therapy of brain tumors

Semin Surg Oncol. Sep-Oct 1995;11(5):335-45. doi: 10.1002/ssu.2980110503.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a binary treatment modality suitable for various malignant tumors including brain. It involves the selective uptake of a photosensitizer into tumor followed by intraoperative irradiation of the tumor with light of an appropriate wavelength to cause activation of the sensitizer and subsequent selective tumor destruction. PDT has been extensively investigated in laboratory studies and has been used in clinical trials to treat a variety of brain tumors, particularly gliomas. The main advantage of PDT lies in its ability to select out infiltrating tumor cells that are responsible for local tumor recurrence. The therapy has been shown to be safe clinically but adequate trials have yet to be undertaken to prove its efficacy and much work remains to be done to optimize treatment. The biological basis, laboratory studies, and clinical trials involving PDT in the treatment of cerebral tumors are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Glioma / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Care
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / prevention & control
  • Photochemotherapy* / methods
  • Photosensitizing Agents / administration & dosage
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use


  • Photosensitizing Agents