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Clin Exp Dermatol. 2011 Aug;36(6):645-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2230.2010.03989.x. Epub 2011 May 30.

Successful cutaneous delivery of the photosensitizer silicon phthalocyanine 4 for photodynamic therapy.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH 44106-4926, USA.



 Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been shown to be effective in the treatment of malignancies of a variety of organ systems, including the lungs, bladder, gastrointestinal tract and skin. Cutaneous lesions serve as ideal targets of PDT because of the accessibility of the skin to light. To achieve optimum results, the photosensitizer must be delivered effectively into the target layers of the skin within a practical timeframe, via noninvasive methods.


To determine whether topical application of a second-generation photosensitizer, silicon phthalocyanine (Pc) 4 [SiPc(OSi(CH3)2 (CH2)3 N(CH3)2)(OH)], results in effective penetration of the skin barrier.


Penetration of Pc 4 was evaluated using standard Franz-type vertical diffusion cell experiments on surrogate materials (silicone membranes) and laser-scanning confocal microscopy of normal skin biopsy samples from human volunteers.


The Franz diffusion data indicate that Pc 4 formulated in an ethanol/propylene glycol solution (70/30%, v/v) can penetrate the membrane at a flux that is appreciable and relatively invariant. Using the same formulation, Pc 4 uptake could be detected in human skin via laser-scanning confocal microscopy.


After topical application, Pc 4 is absorbed into the epidermis in as little as 1 h, and the absorption increased with increasing time and dose. Pc 4 can be effectively delivered into human skin via topical application. The data also suggest that the degree of penetration is time- and dose-dependent.

© The Author(s). CED © 2011 British Association of Dermatologists.

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