5-ALA photodynamic ablation of fibroblastic soft-tissue tumors

Jacob Bickels*, Yair Gortzak, Amir Sternheim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:: Fibroblastic soft-tissue tumors share enzymatic anomalies that result in excessive intracellular conversion of 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) to protoporphyrin IX, a photosensitizer which induces cellular apoptosis upon exposure to visible red light at a wavelength of 635 nm. We hypothesized that red light illumination of the surgical bed remaining after resection of fibroblastic tumors will result in destruction of microscopic tumor residua and may decrease the likelihood of local tumor recurrence. Methods:: Twenty-four patients with desmoid tumors, solitary fibrous tumors (SFT), and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) received oral 5-ALA prior to resection of their tumors. Following tumor resection, the exposed surgical bed was illuminated with red light at a wave length of 635 nm at a dose of 150 J/cm2 for 33 min. Results:: Treatment with 5-ALA was associated with minor side effects that included nausea and transient elevation of transaminases. Local tumor recurrence was detected in 1 of the 10 patients with desmoid tumors who had not undergone any previous surgery, none in the 6 patients who had SFT and 1 of the 5 patients who had DFSP. Conclusions:: 5-ALA photodynamic therapy of fibroblastic soft-tissue tumors may result in decreased likelihood of local tumor recurrence. It is associated with minimal side effects and should be considered as adjuvant to tumor resection in these cases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103624
JournalPhotodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • 5-Aminolevulinic acid
  • Fibroblastic tumors
  • Photodynamic therapy


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