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Eur J Dermatol. 2008 Sep-Oct;18(5):539-46. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2008.0469. Epub 2008 Aug 8.

Real-life practice study of the clinical outcome and cost-effectiveness of photodynamic therapy using methyl aminolevulinate (MAL-PDT) in the management of actinic keratosis and basal cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Faculty of Medicine, University of Ghent, De Pintelaan 185, Ghent, Belgium.


Clinical trials have shown that photodynamic therapy using methyl aminolevulinate (MAL-PDT) is an effective treatment for actinic keratosis (AK), and nodular and superficial basal cell carcinoma (nBCC and sBCC) unsuitable for other available therapies. Economic evaluation models have shown that it is a cost effective intervention as well. The objectives of this prospective, observational, one arm study were (i) to verify in a real-life practice study the results obtained in previous clinical trials with MAL-PDT in the treatment of AK, nBCC and sBCC; (ii) to calculate the real-life cost of treatment and validate predictions from an economic evaluation model. Patients with AK and/or BCC were selected according to Belgian reimbursement criteria for treatment with MAL-PDT. Clinical response, cosmetic outcome and tolerability were assessed. MAL-PDT cost was calculated and compared to published model cost data. Data were collected from 247 patients (117 AK, 130 BCC). A complete clinical response was obtained for 83% of AK (85/102) and BCC (97/116) patients. A good or excellent cosmetic outcome was obtained for 95% of AK patients and 93% of BCC patients. Tolerability was good: only 2 patients withdrew for adverse events. Clinical results were similar to previous studies. Total cost of care per patient was euro 381 for AK, euro 318 for nBCC, and euro 298 for sBCC. Total cost per lesion was euro 58 for AK (identical to model prediction), euro 316 for nBCC and euro 178 for sBCC (both within 20% of model prediction). The clinical results of MAL-PDT in this real-life practice study confirm those demonstrated in previous clinical trials. Costs calculated from this study confirm predicted cost-effectiveness in the original model for MAL-PDT in the management of AK and BCC.

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