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Eur Respir J. 1999 Oct;14(4):800-5.

Efficacy and safety of photodynamic therapy versus Nd-YAG laser resection in NSCLC with airway obstruction.

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Pulmonology Service, Ciutat Sanitària de Bellvitge, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.


A prospective controlled randomized trial was performed in order to assess the effectiveness and safety of photodynamic therapy versus laser resection in 31 patients with partial or complete tracheobronchial obstruction due to inoperable non-small cell lung cancer. Fourteen patients received dihaematoporphyrin ether and argon dye laser photoradiation, and 17 patients received Nd-YAG laser resection. Endoluminal obstruction of >75% was found in 77.4% of the patients. Among the symptoms, cough was more severe in the Nd-YAG group (p=0.02). Patients in both groups experienced symptomatic relief after treatment (p=0.003). Patients in the photodynamic therapy (PDT) group showed a significantly longer time until treatment failure (p=0.03) and longer median survival (p=0.007). Bronchitis and photosensitization (both in the PDT group) were the most common adverse effects. There was one death, probably related to treatment, in the PDT group. Photodynamic therapy and neodymium-yttrium aluminium garnet laser resection showed similar effectiveness and safety in the palliation of symptoms. The more prolonged survival in the photodynamic therapy group may have been due to differences in tumour stage between the groups. The degree of obstruction improved after treatment in both groups. In conclusion, photodynamic therapy is a valid method of palliation in partially or totally obstructing non-small cell lung carcinoma.

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