Clinical interest in laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) spectroscopy and photodynamic therapy (PDT) is growing rapidly and may ultimately lead to close parallel use of these techniques. However, variations in LIF due to photosensitizer retention as well as tissue damage and healing processes may interfere with autofluorescence-based diagnostic methods. We have investigated the compatibility of these two techniques by quantifying PDT-induced changes in LIF in the human esophagus. Fluorescence spectra were collected endoscopically at excitation wavelengths (λex) of 337, 400 and 410 nm in 32 patients. Measurements were performed immediately before and after PDT treatment with porfimer sodium and during follow-up procedures. In the months following PDT regions of reepithelialized squamous showed reduced autofluorescence in comparison with untreated squamous regions (P = 0.0007). Photosensitizer fluorescence was undetectable with λex = 337 nm during follow-up procedures, whereas for λex = 400 and 410 nm porfimer sodium fluorescence was noted for nearly a year after treatment. Therefore, residual photosensitizer fluorescence is likely to affect certain LIF-based diagnostic techniques during a period when patients are at high risk for tumor recurrence. Modification of LIF systems and/or the use of alternative photosensitizers may be required to optimize the detection of lesions in the post-PDT patient. Given the potential of LIF as a method for surveillance following cancer therapy, further investigation of the compatibility of specific LIF approaches with cancer pharmaceuticals may be warranted.
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Vol. 73 • No. 6