Photodynamic Diagnosis Information

Photodynamic diagnosis of breast tumours after oral application of aminolevulinic acid

D. P. Ladner, R. A. Steiner, J. Allemann, U. Haller, H. Walt

p 33-37, Volume 84, Number 1, January 2001


Photodynamic diagnosis is of increasing interest for diagnosis in oncology. It is based on a more intense incorporation of a fluorescent dye in tumours compared to normal tissue. As a feasibility study we investigated the effectiveness of oral application of 5-aminolevulinic acid for photodynamic diagnosis of human primary mammary tumours.

The study included 16 patients with palpable breast tumours. Aminolevulinic acid was administered at a concentration of 40 mg kg-1bodyweight 150-420 min prior to tumourectomy. Intraoperatively blue light (405 nm) was applied to the operation site. Sections of the excised tumour and some lymph nodes were prepared and analysed with a fluorescent microscope.

All primary mammary tumour tissues showed significantly higher fluorescence intensity than surrounding normal mammary tissue. Fluorescence of the mammary tumours could also be discriminated macroscopically and intraoperatively. Fluorescence intensity in nonmetastatic lymph node tissue was higher in 2 out of 3 patients than in primary tumour tissue. By photodynamic diagnosis using aminolevulinic acid we were able to reliably distinguish primary mammary tumours from normal mammary tissue microscopically and macroscopically in all our patients.

We suggest that photodynamic diagnosis with aminolevulinic acid for breast tumours should be further investigated and developed for intraoperative use and may well be a simple tool for better intraoperative diagnosis and recognition of tumour margins. We hypothesize that lymph node metastasis of breast tumours will not be detectable by this method.

British Medical Journal p 33-37, Volume 84, Number 1, January 2001

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