Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is the most common type of cancer among white skin individuals worldwide with an increasing incidence over the last years. NMSC is mostly treated with surgical or non-invasive methods such as cryotherapy or topical chemotherapeutics. Over the last years, there has been a rapidly growing interest in the use of photodynamic therapy (PDT) which is a well-tolerated, safe and effective alternative treatment option. PDT involves a photosensitizer, a light source and tissue oxygen and is based on a photo-oxidation reaction in the target tissue which results to a selective destruction of the cancer cells. PDT has been approved for treatment of actinic keratosis, Bowen’s disease and basal cell carcinoma in Europe. Off-label uses include treatment of invasive squamous cell carcinoma, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, Paget’s disease and prevention of recurrence of squamous cell carcinoma in organ-transplant recipients. Also combination of PDT with other treatment options such as cryotherapy, surgery and topical therapies has been reported with improved efficacy, tolerability and long-term results. Development of novel photosensitizers and light sources together with targeted delivery systems will increase specificity, efficiency and treatment field of PDT in the future. This chapter aims to give the reader an overview of the important applications of PDT, including indications, approved treatments, advantages and disadvantages of this method such as future trends.
Part of the book: Dermatologic Surgery and Procedures