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Cancer Res. 1999 Feb 15;59(4):901-4.

Improvement of systemic 5-aminolevulinic acid-based photodynamic therapy in vivo using light fractionation with a 75-minute interval.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Daniel den Hoed Cancer Centre, University Hospital Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


We have studied different single and fractionated illumination schemes after systemic administration of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) to Improve the response of nodular tumors to ALA-mediated photodynamic therapy. Tumors transplanted on the thigh of female WAG/Rij rats were transdermally illuminated with red light (633 nm) after systemic ALA administration (200 mg/kg). The effectiveness of each treatment scheme was determined from the tumor volume doubling time. A single illumination (100 J/cm2 at 100 mW/cm2, 2.5 h after ALA administration) yielded a doubling time of 6.6+/-1.2 days. This was significantly different from the untreated control (doubling time, 1.7+/-0.1 days). The only treatment scheme that yielded a significant improvement compared to all other schemes studied was illumination at both 1 and 2.5 h after ALA administration (both 100 J/cm2 at 100 mW/cm2) and resulted in a tumor volume doubling time of 18.9+/-2.9 days. A possible mechanism to explain this phenomenon is that the protoporphyrin IX formed after administration of ALA is photodegraded by the first illumination. In the 75-min interval, new porphyrin is formed enhancing the effect of the second illumination.

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