We present a review of six clinical studies investigating the use of photodynamic therapy (PDT) using porphyrin precursors for the treatment of Old World cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). Thirty-nine patients with a total of 77 lesions received PDT using a range of treatment schedules following topical application of aminolevulinic acid (ALA) or methyl-aminolevulinate (MAL). The tissue response to PDT is accompanied by a mild burning sensation, erythema and reversible hypo- and hyperpigmentation. Few mechanistic studies have addressed the principles underlying the use of PDT for CL. All six reviewed papers suggest that PDT with porphyrin precursors is relatively effective in treating CL. Data are still limited, and PDT cannot at this point be recommended in routine clinical practice. The mechanism of action of this promising therapeutic modality needs to investigated further and additional controlled trials need to be performed.

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Keywords Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Old World, Photodynamic therapy (PDT), Treatment
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-3083.2008.02805.x, hdl.handle.net/1765/30006
Journal Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
van der Snoek, E.M, Robinson, D.J, van Hellemond, J.J, & Neumann, H.A.M. (2008). A review of photodynamic therapy in cutaneous leishmaniasis. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (Vol. 22, pp. 918–922). doi:10.1111/j.1468-3083.2008.02805.x