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Experimental use of photodynamic therapy in high grade gliomas: a review focused on 5-aminolevulinic acid

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-330
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) consists of a laser light exposure of tumor cells photosensitized by general or local administration of a pharmacological agent. Nowadays, PDT is a clinically established modality for treatment of many cancers. 5-Aminolevulinic acid (ALA) induced protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) has proven its rational in fluoro-guided resection of malignant gliomas due to a selective tumor uptake and minimal skin sensitization. Moreover, the relatively specific accumulation of photosensitizing PPIX within the tumor cells has gained interest in the PDT of malignant gliomas. Several experimental and clinical studies have then established ALA-PDT as a valuable adjuvant therapy in the management of malignant gliomas. However, the procedure still requires optimizations in the fields of tissue oxygenation status, photosensitizer concentration or scheme of laser light illumination. In this extensive review, we focused on the methods and results of ALA-PDT for treating malignant gliomas in experimental conditions. The biological mechanisms, the effects on tumor and normal brain tissue, and finally the critical issues to optimize the efficacy of ALA-PDT were discussed.

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • 5-Aminolevulinic acid (ALA), Brain tumor, High-grade glioma, Photodynamic therapy, Preclinical model