Dysplastic lesions of the oral cavity and larynx are extremely common and are largely being ignored, declared Francisco Civantos, MD, FACS, Co-Director of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida. Current standard treatment of oral cavity cancer, especially in its early stages, is resection; a combination of therapeutic options, including surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, is used for later-stage oral cavity cancers. However, these mainstream approaches may be associated with considerable complications.1 Therefore, novel effective alternatives that reduce long-term morbidity without compromising future treatment options, such as photodynamic therapy (PDT), may play an emerging role in managing head and neck tumors.
“We felt the niche for PDT was in recurrent surface disease after previous surgery or radiation, most commonly as adjuvant treatment after initial debulking,” stated Dr. Civantos, who has 7 years of experience performing PDT for head and neck lesions at the University of Miami. Unlike radical radiotherapy and chemotherapy, PDT can be performed more than once in cases of recurrent disease or second primaries within the irradiated field.1 PDT can also potentially be used for recurrent lesions after surgery, for radiation failure in early laryngeal cancer, and before surgery to limit the amount of resection needed.
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