Role of Photodynamic Therapy in Gastroenterology

Authors G. Karamanolis, E.G. Mallas.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a cancer treatment modality
that combines the use of a photosensitizing agent and a
photosensitizer (a drug that selectively accumulates and is
preferentially retained in dysplastic or neoplastic cells).
When activated by light of a specific wavelength in the presence
of oxygen, the photoactive compound produces rapid
cell death in the target tissue. Following health agency approvals
throughout the world for various cancers and other
diseases, PDT is gradually being accepted as a standard
modality to be added to the medical practitioners armamentarium.
In Gastroenterology, PDT has been approved
for the treatment of BarrettĀ“s esophagus and of early esophageal
cancer, and as palliative therapy for advanced
esophageal carcinoma whereas, superficial gastric cancer,
non-resectable cholangiocarcinoma, and pancreatic carcinoma
have been investigated in PDT trials. This article represents
an extensive survey of literature to review the experience
gained with PDT and to assess its clinical value in
the management of gastrointestinal diseases.
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