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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2010 October;145(5):613-30

Copyright © 2010 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The use of photodynamic therapy in dermatology

Babilas P. 1, Szeimies R. M. 2

1 Department of Dermatology, Regensburg University Hospital, Regensburg, Germany; 2 Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Klinikum Vest Academic Teaching Hospital, Recklinghausen, Germany


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In dermatology, topical photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a well established treatment modality which has mainly shown to be effective for dermatooncologic conditions like actinic keratosis, Bowen’s disease, in-situ squamous cell carcinoma and superficial basal cell carcinoma. However, a therapeutical benefit of PDT is also evident for inflammatory dermatoses like localized scleroderma, acne vulgaris and granuloma annulare as well as for aesthetic indications like photo aged skin or sebaceous gland hyperplasia. Recent work has been focused on the development and evaluation of topical photosensitizers like the hem precursor 5-aminolevulinic acid or its methyl ester inducing photosensitizing porphyrins. These drugs do not induce strong generalized cutaneous photosensitization like the systemically applied porphyrins or their derivatives. For dermatological purposes incoherent lamps or LED arrays can be used for light activation. Depending on the applied light dose and the concentration of the photosensitizer either cytotoxic effects resulting in tumor destruction or immunomodulatory effects improving the inflammatory conditions occur. Treating superficial oncologic lesions (tumor thickness <2-3 mm) cure rates achieved by PDT are equal to the cure rates of the respective standard therapeutic procedure. The benefits of PDT are the low level of invasiveness and the excellent cosmetic results after treatment.

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