Photodynamic therapy for endobronchial malignant disease: a prospective fourteen-year study

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1997 Dec;114(6):940-6; discussion 946-7. doi: 10.1016/S0022-5223(97)70008-4.


Background: After intravenous injection, the photosensitizer dihematoporphyrin either is selectively retained in tumor cells. This photosensitizer absorbs 630 nm wavelength light energy and produces a singlet oxygen that destroys the tumor. Photodynamic therapy was performed on endobronchial tumors with the use of light generated by an argon dye laser system delivered through cylinder diffusing tip quartz fibers passed through the biopsy channel of a flexible endoscope.

Objectives: Our objectives were to determine factors affecting survivals, benefits, and complications.

Methods: From 1982 to May 1996, photodynamic therapy was performed on 175 patients with endobronchial tumors. Sixteen had stage I disease, 9 stage II, 42 stage IIIA, 64 stage IIIB, and 44 stage IV. All were followed up until death or November 1996.

Results: Multivariate analysis of survival of the effects of age, sex, race, histologic features, Karnofsky Performance Status, and clinical stage showed the clinical stage (p < 0.0001) to be the most statistically significant factor. Sixteen patients with stage I disease had a 93% 5-year disease-related estimated survival. Median (months) survivals were as follows: stage I = not reached; stage II = 22.5; stage IIIA = 5.7; stage IIIB = 55; and stage IV = 5.0. Performance status does become significant when it reaches 50 but was not significant for stages I or II.

Conclusions: Photodynamic therapy may be considered as an alternative treatment for patients under consideration for surgical treatment for stage I carcinoma in whom the risk of surgery is high. The length of palliation for patients with noncurative disease was equal to or better than that reported historically for most other treatment regimens.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Dihematoporphyrin Ether / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Hematoporphyrin Photoradiation*
  • Humans
  • Karnofsky Performance Status
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Tracheal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Tracheal Neoplasms / mortality


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Dihematoporphyrin Ether