A follow up study of recurrence and cosmesis in completely responding superficial and nodular BCC treated with MAL-based PDT alone and with prior curettage

Photodynamic Out-Patient Clinic, Department of Surgical Oncology, and *Department of Pathology, The Norwegian Radium Hospital,
Montebello, N-0310 Oslo, Norway
Accepted for publication 27 April 2001


Background Methyl 5-aminolaevulinate (mALA) is an ester derivative of 5-aminolaevulinic acid
(ALA) with increased lipophilicity compared with ALA.


To assess long-term cure rate, cosmesis, recurrence rate and extent of fibrosis after mALA-based photodynamic therapy (PDT) of superficial and nodular basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) showing early complete response to treatment.

Methods Of 350 BCCs treated, 310 responded completely. These were in 59 patients who were followed for 2±4 years (mean 35 months) after mALA-PDT. Nodular tumours were curetted before PDT, and mALA 160 mg g21 was applied to all tumours for 24 h or 3 h before illumination from a broad-band halogen light source with light doses from 50 to 200 J cm22. Fibrosis was assessed histologically in 23 biopsies.


The overall cure rate for 350 BCCs, including non-responders and recurrences was 79%. Of 310 lesions, 277 (89%) remained in complete response, and the cosmetic outcome was excellent or good in 272 of the completely responding lesions (98%). Histological examination showed dermal fibrosis in one of 23 biopsies.


We conclude that mALA-based PDT with prior curettage of nodular lesions is a promising new method for the treatment of BCC.

Key words: basal cell carcinoma, broad-band halogen lamp, methyl 5-aminolaevulinate, photodynamic therapy 

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