PDT (Photodynamic Therapy) for Breast Cancer of the Chest Wall

Last Modified: March 2, 2006

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Can PDT be used to treat recurrence of breast cancer on the chest wall (the site of the mastectomy)? Do you know of any clinical trials for this use?


Robert Lustig MD FACR, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Pennsylvania, responds:

PDT has been used to treat the chest wall in patients with recurrent breast cancer. Generally, PDT will only treat cancers that are up to 4-6 mm in depth, so its use is generally limited to small lesions. Photofrin (the photosensitizer used in PDT) is not approved for use in breast cancer. It can be used off-label, but most insurance companies will not pay for the cost. We do not have any trials open at University of Pennsylvania for this problem. However, there may be a trial at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, or at Roswell Park in Buffalo, NY.

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