Barrett's esophagus (BE) can experimentally be treated with 5-aminolevulinic acid–based photodynamic therapy (ALA-PDT), in which ALA, the precursor of the endogenous photosensitizer protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) and subsequent irradiation with laser light are applied to destroy the (pre)malignant tissue. Accurate dosimetry is critical for successful ALA-PDT. Here, in vivo dosimetry and kinetics of PpIX fluorescence photobleaching were studied in a rat model of BE. The fluence and fluence rate were standardized in vivo and PpIX fluorescence was measured simultaneously at the esophageal wall during ALA-PDT and plotted against the delivered fluence rather than time. Rats with BE were administered 200 mg kg−1 ALA (n = 17) or served as control (n = 4). Animals were irradiated with 633 nm laser light at a measured fluence rate of 75 mW cm−2 and a fluence of 54 J cm−2. Large differences were observed in the kinetics of PpIX fluorescence photobleaching in different animals. High PpIX fluorescence photobleaching rates corresponded with tissue ablation, whereas low rates corresponded with no damage to the epithelium. Attempts to influence tissue oxygenation by varying balloon pressure and ventilation were shown not to be directly responsible for the differences in effect. In conclusion, in vivo dosimetry is feasible in heterogeneous conditions such as BE, and PpIX fluorescence photobleaching is useful to predict the tissue response to ALA-PDT.
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Vol. 82 • No. 6