5-Aminolevulinic acid-based photodynamic detection and therapy of brain tumors (review).

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International journal of oncology, Volume 21, Issue 3, p.577-82 (2002)


Aminolevulinic Acid, Animals, Brain Neoplasms, Clinical Trials as Topic, Combined Modality Therapy, Humans, Photochemotherapy, Photosensitizing Agents


With current treatment methods the prognosis for patients with aggressive brain tumors is dismal. Treatment failure is usually due to local recurrence of tumor. Intra-operative photodynamic detection (PDD) of tumor tissue and post-surgical photodynamic therapy (PDT) of the resection cavity may be of benefit. The utility of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) has been recognized in many different treatment fields over the past decade. Following administration of exogenous ALA, the endogenous photosensitizer, protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), accumulates in tumor tissue. A photodynamic effect occurs upon light activation of the target tissue. This article reviews the current preclinical and clinical studies and potential future applications of ALA and its ester-induced PpIX as a photosensitizing agent in the detection and treatment of brain tumors.