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Semin Laparosc Surg. 1999 Jun;6(2):100-3.

Photodynamic cystoscopy for detection of bladder tumors.

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Institute of Pathology, Clinic Ebersberg, Germany.


The use of a photodynamic fluorescence marker for diagnosis of tumors is an intriguing concept to improve thoroughness of surgical tumor resection. Complete surgical resection of multifocal bladder tumors and flat lesions as carcinoma in situ is known to be difficult, and thus a source of recurrencies. We report on the recent experience with the intravesical application of the photosensitizer prodrug 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), which is a nontoxic physiological heme substrate. Initial results from fluorescence diagnosis using krypton laser light and recent results with a modified incoherent light source constantly showed a 25% increase in urothelial tumor detection compared with white light endoscopy. Because of the high sensitivity, the number of biopsies could be decreased constantly compared with routine random biopsies taken under white light endoscopy. The results show about 25% to 30% of cases with fluorescent lesions, which are histologically benign. 5-ALA is a promising tool for diagnosis of bladder cancer. The outcome of the initial study of 5-ALA in urology in Germany is positive and is continued by prospective multicenter clinical studies to prove the hypothesis of reduction of tumor recurrence with this method. 5-ALA-based fluorescence endoscopy is strongly recommended for further clinical testing.

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