Photodynamic therapy of non-melanoma malignant tumours of the skin using topical delta-amino levulinic acid sensitization and laser irradiation

Br J Dermatol. 1994 Jun;130(6):743-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1994.tb03412.x.


Eighty basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) in 21 patients, 10 lesions of Bowen's disease in three patients, and four lesions of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma in two patients, were treated with photodynamic laser therapy (PDT), using topical application of the haem precursor delta-amino levulinic acid (ALA). The diagnoses were confirmed histologically prior to treatment. Fifty-five of the BCCs were superficial lesions, and 25 were nodular. Of the 80 BCCs, 39 (49%) were located on the trunk, 36 (45%) on the head and neck region, four (15%) on the leg and one on the arm. The two principal locations of the 10 Bowen's disease lesions were the leg (50%) and the trunk (40%). The T-cell lymphoma lesions were located on the shoulder and on the arm. A water-in-oil based cream containing 20% ALA was applied to the lesions, with a margin of about 10-20 mm beyond the visible tumour border, 4-6 h before the laser procedure. During this period of time the highly fluorescent and photodynamically active substance protoporphyrin IX (Pp IX) is synthesized via the haem cycle. Laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) was used for real-time monitoring of the Pp IX distribution in the tumour and in the normal surrounding skin, before and after treatment in all patients. Before laser treatment the Pp IX distribution demonstrated by LIF showed a demarcation between tumour and normal skin of about 15:1 for BCC and Bowen's disease, and 5:1 for T-cell lymphomas.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aminolevulinic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Arm
  • Bowen's Disease / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Leg
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photochemotherapy / methods*
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Aminolevulinic Acid