Short Incubation PDT versus 5-FU in Treating Actinic Keratoses

December 2003 | Volume 2 | Issue 6 | Original Article | 629 | Copyright © December 2003

Stacy Smith, MD; Dan Piacquadio, MD; Vera Morhenn, MD; Deborah Atkin, MD and Richard Fitzpatrick, ND

The efficacy of photodynamic therapy (PDT) using broad area treatment with 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) has not been compared to topical 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in the treatment of actinic keratoses (AK).

The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy and tolerability of PDT using short incubation time, broad area treatment with ALA plus activation with either blue light or laser light to topical 5-FU in the treatment of AK of the face and scalp.

Thirty-six subjects with AK of either the face or scalp were randomized to receive either application of ALA for 1 hour followed by activation with blue light or pulsed dye laser or topical 5-FU. Efficacy was evaluated by grading AK lesions and photoaging signs. Tolerability was assessed by scoring crusting /erosions, erythema and stinging /burning.

Treatment with PDT using ALA plus blue light was as effective as topical 5-FU in clearing AK. PDT using ALA plus laser light was the least effective treatment. All treatments made improvements in the signs of photoaging. Both PDT treatments were better tolerated than 5-FU.

In conclusion, broad area PDT treatment with ALA plus activation with blue light appears to be as effective as 5–FU in the treatment of AK. ALA plus laser light is somewhat less effective than the above therapies. Efficacy could likely be improved with further study of laser parameters and incubation tim