Photodynamic therapy for head and neck dysplasia and cancer

Nestor R. Rigual, Krishnakumar Thankappan, Michele Cooper, Maureen A. Sullivan, Thomas Dougherty, Saurin R. Popat, Thom R. Loree, Merrill A. Biel, Barbara Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the response of dysplasia, carcinoma in situ (CIS), and T1 carcinoma of the oral cavity and larynx to photodynamic therapy with porfimer sodium. Design: Prospective trial. Setting: A National Cancer Institute - designated cancer institute. Patients: Patients with primary or recurrent moderate to severe oral or laryngeal dysplasia, CIS, or T1N0 carcinoma. Intervention: Porfimer sodium, 2 mg/kg of body weight, was injected intravenously 48 hours before treatment. Light at 630 nm for photosensitizer activation was delivered from an argon laser or diode laser using lens or cylindrical diffuser fibers. The light dose was 50 J/cm2 for dysplasia and CIS and 75 J/cm2 for carcinoma. Main Outcome Measures: Response was evaluated at 1 week and at 1 month and then at 3-month intervals thereafter. Response options were complete (CR), partial (PR), and no (NR) response. Posttreatment biopsies were performed in all patients with persistent and recurrent visible lesions. Results: Thirty patients were enrolled, and 26 were evaluable. Mean follow-up was 15 months (range, 7-52 months). Twenty-four patients had a CR, 1 had a PR, and 1 had NR. Three patients with oral dysplasia with an initial CR experienced recurrence in the treatment field. All the patients with NR, a PR, or recurrence after an initial CR underwent salvage treatment. Temporary morbidities included edema, pain, hoarseness, and skin phototoxicity. Conclusion: Photodynamic therapy with porfimer sodium is an effective treatment alternative, with no permanent sequelae, for oral and laryngeal dysplasia and early carcinoma. Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT00530088

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)784-788
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Photodynamic therapy for head and neck dysplasia and cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this