Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a clinically approved, minimally invasive therapeutic procedure that can exert a selective cytotoxic activity toward malignant cells. The procedure involves administration of a photosensitizing agent followed by irradiation at a wavelength corresponding to an absorbance band of the sensitizer. In the presence of oxygen, a series of events lead to direct tumor cell death, damage to the microvasculature, and induction of a local inflammatory reaction. Clinical studies revealed that PDT can be curative, particularly in early stage tumors. It can prolong survival in patients with inoperable cancers and significantly improve quality of life. Minimal normal tissue toxicity, negligible systemic effects, greatly reduced long-term morbidity, lack of intrinsic or acquired resistance mechanisms, and excellent cosmetic as well as organ function-sparing effects of this treatment make it a valuable therapeutic option for combination treatments. With a number of recent technological improvements, PDT has the potential to become integrated into the mainstream of cancer treatment.
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