Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer: Photodynamic TherapySkip to the navigation
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment used for nonmelanoma skin cancer . PDT is a process. First a medicine is applied to the skin. Then the doctor shines a special light on it. PDT may be used to treat skin cancers when surgery or radiation can't be used.
Medicines used in PDT for skin cancer include 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA), methyl aminolevulinate (MAL), and porfirmer sodium.
PDT is used to treat actinic keratoses on the face and scalp. It's also used to treat squamous cell carcinoma in situ (Bowen's disease) and superficial basal cell carcinomas . Studies show that cure rates for skin cancers treated with PDT may be slightly lower than with surgery or radiation. But PDT does not leave a scar like surgery does. footnote 1
Studies of PDT with the medicine MAL found that this treatment worked as well as cryosurgery for actinic keratoses and squamous cell carcinoma in situ (Bowen's disease). footnote 2
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network (2012). Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology, Version 2. Available online: http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/PDF/nmsc.pdf.
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network (2010). Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology, Version 1. Available online: http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/PDF/nmsc.pdf.
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of: November 20, 2015