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Derm News: 2007.26(5)

Photodynamic therapy: update 2006 Part 2: Clinical results

Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 21(4):439-451
PG Calzavara-Pinton, M Venturini, R Sala

In several randomized, controlled studies, the application of a standard preparation containing methyl-aminolevulinate (MAL; Metvix®, Galderma, F), followed by red light irradiation proved effective and well tolerated in the treatment of actinic keratosis and basal cell carcinoma, and has now been approved for clinical use in European countries. A brand name aminolevulinic acid (ALA) solution (Levulan Kerastick®, Dusa Pharmaceuticals Inc., Wilmington, MA) plus blue light exposure has been approved for the treatment of actinic keratosis in the USA. Randomized and controlled studies have shown that MAL as well as ALA are also effective in the treatment of Bowen's disease. In addition, a large and growing number of open studies or case reports have evaluated its use in the treatment of a broad range of other neoplastic, inflammatory and infectious skin diseases. However, efficacy and definite advantages over standard therapies remain to be clarified because the experimental design of these studies was often poor, the number of enrolled patients was generally low, and the follow-up was shorter than 12 months. However, these studies have suggested a few possible clinical applications worthy of further investigation. A growing number of laboratory and clinical findings suggest that several new synthetic sensitizers, besides ALA and MAL, may be helpful in the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancers, melanoma metastasis, and selected inflammatory and infective skin diseases. These compounds are deliverable intravenously, have short half-lives both in the blood and skin, and are highly efficient. However, they are as of yet not approved for clinical use.

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The Derm News service provided by the Editorial Consultants of Skin Therapy Letter© and its founding editor Dr. Stuart Maddin.