Objectives: A Phase I trial of photodynamic therapy (PDT) in the treatment of superficial transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the bladder was performed.
Methods: Twenty patients with recurrent superficial TCC of the bladder after receiving a mean of 2.6 (range 1 to 6) courses of intravesical therapy were treated with PDT. The photosensitizer Photofrin II dose was 1.5 or 2.0 mg/kg. A 630-nm intravesical red laser was used to activate the photosensitizer 2 days after administration of Photofrin II. A 0.01% intralipid solution was used as a bladder-filling medium to scatter light and achieve more homogeneous light distribution. Light doses from 5.1 to 25.6 J/cm2 (total dosage 1500 to 5032 J) were used to illuminate the bladder.
Results: Twenty patients underwent 21 treatments with PDT. Complications included asymptomatic reflux in 4 patients. One other patient, treated at the highest total light dose, experienced bladder contraction and fibrosis. Nine patients (45%) had no tumor evident at cystoscopy, on random biopsies, or in urinary cytology at the 3-month evaluation after treatment. Four patients remained without recurrent disease for 23 to 56 months. Sixteen of 20 (80%) patients experienced recurrence, and 8 of the 16 underwent cystectomy.
Conclusions: An intravenous photosensitizer dose of 1.5 mg/kg Photofrin II followed by light energy in the range of 13 J/cm2 (total light dose 2500 to 3250 J) was defined as a safe treatment parameter and resulted in tumor responses. With present technologies, administration of PDT requires careful dosimetry.