Photodynamic therapy for dysphagia due to esophageal carcinoma

H. Kashtan*, F. Konikoff, R. Haddad, M. Umansky, Y. Skornick, Z. Halpern

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Surgery is the mainstay in the treatment of esophageal carcinoma and is effective for palliation of dysphagia. Patients unfit for surgery are difficult therapeutic problems. We evaluated photodynamic therapy for palliation of dysphagia in this condition. Patients were given 5- aminolevulinic acid, 60 mg/kg, orally and 24 hour later gastroscopy was performed during which red light illumination (100 j/cm2 for 600 seconds) was administered. This was repeated 48 hours later. The degree of dysphagia was recorded before and 14 days after treatment. 8 patients with an advanced non-resectable tumor, or who were unfit for surgery, were thus treated. 4 had squamous cell carcinoma of the mid-esophagus and 4 had adenocarcinoma of the lower esophagus. There was mild, self- limited photo-sensitivity in all. Liver and renal function tests and blood count were not affected by the treatment. Dysphagia was improved in all except 1 patient. A patient with early stage disease continued to eat a normal diet. We believe that photodynamic therapy with systemic aminolevulinic acid as a photosensitizer and a non-laser light source is feasible and safe in advanced esophageal cancer. It is an effective modality for relief of dysphagia in that condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-444+512
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 Nov 1999


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