• Photodynamic therapy is an experimental modality for tumor treatment based on the combined action of the tumor-localizing agent, ie, hematoporphyrin derivative, and red light. From 1985 through 1989, 26 patients were treated using hematoporphyrin-derived drugs and 630-nm light delivered by a tunable dye laser. All patients had biopsy-proved squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and they had either failed the traditional treatment modalities or refused conventional therapies. Histological complete responses were achieved in 20 (77%) of 26 patients and partial responses in 5 (19%) of 26 patients for periods up to 48 months. Only minimal toxic reaction was noted in the group. As a guide to treatment planning for a patient group with large tumors, we used an optical dosimetry model based on tissue optics. The rate of complete responses to this treatment was 8 (73%) of 11. Our data indicate that photodynamic therapy is capable of inducing significant clinical and histological responses in the majority of those treated, and in some patients a prolonged response is produced. In certain select head and neck malignancies, photodynamic therapy has an important role as a treatment modality.
(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1990;116:1267-1270)