- New York
- Reuters Health / Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2003;129:709-711.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) utilizing meta-tetra(hydroxyphenyl)chlorin (mTHPC) is a feasible alternative to surgery or radiotherapy in patients with early-stage squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity and oropharynx, a study suggests.
Second-generation photosensitizers such as mTHPC (Foscan; Scotia Pharmaceuticals, Stirling, Scotland) are “more effective and less phototoxic to the skin than their forerunners,” Dr. Marcel P. Copper, and colleagues from the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam note in the July issue of Archives of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
They prospectively evaluated the long-term outcome of PDT using mTHPC in 25 patients with 29 T1-T2 NO tumors of the oral cavity and/or oropharynx. Follow-up lasted a mean of 37 months.
In all patients, necrosis of the illuminated area occurred within 24 hours but subsided within 4 to 6 weeks after treatment.
Complete remission of the primary tumor was achieved in 25 (89%) of 29 tumors. The complete remission rate was 95% for T1 tumors and 57% in T2 tumors. Surgery and/or radiotherapy effectively salvaged all four patients that developed recurrent local disease.
Five patients who developed lymph node metastasis were treated by radical
(modified) neck dissection and four underwent postoperative radiotherapy.
None of the patients in the study experienced any long-term functional or cosmetic deficits.
In comments to Reuters Health, Dr. Copper said: “The most important findings of this study are that mTHPC PDT gives excellent cure rates in small cancers of the mouth and pharynx, without the morbidity that is usual after treatment with conventional therapies like surgery and/or radiotherapy.”