PHOTODYNAMIC THERAPY (2009)

A systematic review of photodynamic therapy in the treatment of pre-cancerous skin conditions, Barrett's oesophagus and cancers of the biliary tract, brain, head and neck, lung, oesophagus and skin

Background

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is the use of a light-sensitive drug, in combination with light of a visible wavelength, to destroy target cells. PDT is used either as a primary treatment or as an adjunctive treatment. It is fairly well accepted in clinical practice for some types of skin cancer but has yet to be fully explored as a treatment for other forms of cancer.

The aim of this systematic review is to systematically review the clinical effectiveness and safety of PDT in the treatment of Barrett's oesophagus, pre-cancerous skin conditions and the following cancers: biliary tract, brain, head and neck, lung, oesophageal and skin.

Findings

Evidence of effectiveness was found for PDT in the treatment of AK and nodular BCC in relation to placebo, and possibly for treating Barrett's oesophagus. However, the effectiveness of PDT in relation to other treatments is not yet apparent. High quality trials are needed to compare PDT with relevant comparators for all meaningful outcomes, including QoL and adverse effects. Further research is also needed on patient experience of PDT, as well as on the cost effectiveness of PDT.

Conducted by: Debra Fayter1, Mark Corbett1, Morag Heirs1, Dave Fox1, Alison Eastwood1

1. Centre for Reviews and Dissemination

Further details

Project page on NIHR HTA Programme website

Publications

Fayter D, Corbett M, Heirs M, Fox D, Eastwood A. A systematic review of photodynamic therapy in the treatment of pre-cancerous skin conditions, Barrett’s oesophagus and cancers of the biliary tract, brain, head and neck, lung, oesophagus and skin. Health Technol Assess. 2010;14(37):1-129

Posters

Fayter D, Heirs M, Corbett M, Eastwood A, Fox D. Scaling the Tower of Babel. The impact of including foreign language articles in a large scale systematic review. Joint Cochrane and Campbell Colloquium. Colorado, USA, 18 - 22 October 2010

Funding

Commissioned by the NIHR HTA Programme on behalf of the National Cancer Director / Scottish Government Health Directorates