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Photodynamic Therapy for Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

Sari M. Fien and Allan R. Oseroff

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) involves the administration of a photosensitizing drug and its subsequent activation by light at wave-lengths matching the absorption spectrum of the photosensitizer. Because the skin is readily accessible to light-based therapies, PDT with systemic and particularly with topical agents has become important in treating cutaneous disorders. Topical PDT is indicated for treating actinic keratosis, superficial or thin non-melanoma skin cancer, including some cases of nodular basal cell carcinoma, and some cutaneous lymphomas. Advantages of aminolevulinic acid/methyl aminolevulinate PDT include the possibility of simultaneous treatment of multiple tumors and large surface areas, good cosmesis, and minimal morbidity, such as bleeding, scarring, or infection.