Photodynamic therapy vs. cryotherapy for actinic keratoses

August 27, 2014

Photodynamic therapy (PDT, which uses topical agents and light to kill tissue) appears to better clear actinic keratoses (AKs, a common skin lesion caused by sun damage) at three months after treatment than cryotherapy (which uses liquid nitrogen to freeze lesions).

AKs are rough, scaly on the skin typically found on individuals with fair complexions who have had lots of sun exposure. The lesions have the potential to become cancer. PDT is an increasingly popular treatment.

The authors compared PDT with cryotherapy in a meta-analysis of four studies that included 641 patients with a total of 2,174 AKs treated with cryotherapy and 2,170 lesions treated with PDT.

Patients treated with PDT had a 14 percent better chance of complete lesion clearance at three months after treatment than cryotherapy for thin AKs on the face and scalp.

"An analysis of the effectiveness of PDT compared with other treatments may help physicians decide what role it should play in their own clinical practice." Gayatri Patel, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of California Davis Medical Center, in Sacramento, and colleagues said in their JAMA Dermatology article.

In a related editorial, Harvey Lui, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., of the University of British Columbia, writes: "Notwithstanding the apparent superiority of PDT to cryotherapy, the light-based approach to treating AK has three major limitations. The current financial remuneration model is a major disincentive. … Although PDT appears to be a simple concept, in practice optimal results may require longer drug incubation times and perhaps light-dose fractionation to generate a sufficient tissue effect. … Finally, local pain owing to photosensitizer activation during light exposure is perhaps the most striking adverse effect that clinicians need to anticipate and manage during PDT."

"All three of these limiting factors necessitate added time and resources compared with the relatively brief outpatient visits for , in which is simply and efficiently dispensed to the skin," Lui notes.

Explore further: Common therapies for basal cell carcinoma offer similar survival

More information: JAMA Dermatology. Published online August 27, 2014. DOI: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.1253
JAMA Dermatology. Published online August 27, 2014. DOI: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.1869

Related Stories

Common therapies for basal cell carcinoma offer similar survival

May 25, 2012
(HealthDay) -- For patients with superficial basal cell carcinoma (sBCC), treatment with imiquimod or photodynamic therapy (PDT) results in similar long-term tumor-free survival, according to a review published online May ...

An easier, safer, and more accurate treatment for pancreatic cancer

April 2, 2014
Using CT scans with contrast enhancement, Dartmouth researchers measured treatment response to pancreatic cancer photodynamic therapy (PDT) according to a paper published in Physics in Medicine and Biology.

Biochips for better cancer therapy

February 25, 2014
Cancer is the second leading cause of disease-related death in the United States, and may overtake heart disease without aggressive new therapies. One promising area of cancer treatment is photodynamic therapy (PDT), which ...

Multimodal palliative approach OK for advanced esophageal CA

February 27, 2012
(HealthDay) -- For patients with advanced esophageal cancer, use of an individualized, multimodal approach with palliative intention achieves an acceptable mean survival time, with initial use of photodynamic therapy (PDT) ...

Light dynamics for cancer treatment

May 3, 2012
Research is delving into refinement of a revolutionary cancer treatment, photodynamic therapy (PDT). Using light, reactive oxygen and photosensitisers linked to specially designed antibodies, scientists are on the threshold ...

Recommended for you

Phase 3 trial confirms superiority of tocilizumab to steroids for giant cell arteritis

July 26, 2017
A phase 3 clinical trial has confirmed that regular treatment with tocilizumab, an inhibitor of interleukin-6, successfully reduced both symptoms of and the need for high-dose steroid treatment for giant cell arteritis, the ...

A large-scale 'germ trap' solution for hospitals

July 26, 2017
When an infectious airborne illness strikes, some hospitals use negative pressure rooms to isolate and treat patients. These rooms use ventilation controls to keep germ-filled air contained rather than letting it circulate ...

Researchers report new system to study chronic hepatitis B

July 25, 2017
Scientists from Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology have successfully tested a cell-culture system that will allow researchers to perform laboratory-based studies of long-term hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. ...

Male hepatitis B patients suffer worse liver ailments, regardless of lifestyle

July 25, 2017
Why men with hepatitis B remain more than twice as likely to develop severe liver disease than women remains a mystery, even after a study led by a recent Drexel University graduate took lifestyle choices and environments ...

Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain in hospital patients

July 25, 2017
Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Research examines lung cell turnover as risk factor and target for treatment of influenza pneumonia

July 24, 2017
Influenza is a recurring global health threat that, according to the World Health Organization, is responsible for as many as 500,000 deaths every year, most due to influenza pneumonia, or viral pneumonia. Infection with ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.