Aminolevulinic acid: bright future for a new photodynamic therapy for actinic keratosis?

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IN BRIEFActinic keratosis, a common dysplastic skin condition resulting from chronic sun exposure, affects a large proportion of fair-skinned adults worldwide. The epidermal lesions characteristic of this condition have the potential to evolve into invasive squamous cell carcinoma so they are frequently removed by surgery, cryoablation or cytotoxic drugs. Although these techniques are generally effective, their use is sometimes compromised by complicated application methods, pain and suboptimal cosmetic results both during and after therapy.Photodynamic therapy with topical aminolevulinic acid combined with blue light irradiation has recently been approved for treatment of actinic keratosis on the face and scalp. The efficacy of this novel drug-device treatment has been confirmed in 2 phase III trials. The well defined treatment protocol, good tolerability and good cosmetic results may give this therapy advantages over conventional methods.

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