Photodynamic therapy with 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) derived protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) as photosensitizer is a promising treatment for basal cell carcinomas. Until now ALA has been administered topically as an oil-in-water cream in most investigations. The disadvantage of this administration route is insufficiënt penetration in deeper, nodular tumours. Therefore we investigated intracutaneous injection of ALA as an alternative administration route. ALA was administered in 6-fold in the normal skin of three 6-week-old female Dutch pigs by intracutaneous injection of an aqueous solution of ALA (pH 5.0) in volumes of 0.1-0.5 ml and concentrations of 0.5-2% and by topical administration of a 20% ALA cream. During 8 h fluorescence of ALA derived PpIX was measured under 405 nm excitation. For the injection the measured fluorescence was shown to be dose dependent. All injected doses of 3 mg ALA or more lead to a faster initial increase rate of PpIX synthesis and significantly greater fluorescence than that measured after topical administration of ALA. Irradiation (60 Jcm-2 for 10 min) of the spots was performed at 3.5 h after ALA administration. After 48 and 96 h visual damage scores were evaluated and biopsies were taken for histopathological examination. After injection of 2 mg ALA or more the PDT damage after illumination was shown to be significantly greater than after topical application of 20% ALA. An injected dose of 10 mg ALA (0.5 ml of a 2% solution) resulted in significantly more tissue damage after illumination than all other injected doses.

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Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, B: Biology
Department of Dermatology

de Blois, A.W, Thissen, M.R.T.M, de Bruijn, H.S, Grouls, R.J.E, Dutrieux, R.P, Robinson, D.J, & Neumann, H.A.M. (2001). In vivo pharmacokinetics of protoporphyrin IX accumulation following intracutaneous injection of 5-aminolevulinic acid. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, B: Biology, 61(1-2), 21–29. doi:10.1016/S1011-1344(01)00138-5