A novel approach to photodynamic therapy (PDT) involves endogenous photosensitization by the oral administration of δ-aminolevulinic acid (ALA), a naturally occurring substance that is the precursor of protoporphyrin IX (PpIX). A 60-year-old man with adenocarcinoma of the sigmoid colon received ALA, 60 mg/kg by mouth. Six hours later, when the plasma level of PpIX had peaked, the tumor was exposed locally to red light at 633 nm to activate PpIX. Endoscopy and biopsy findings subsequent to this treatment showed unequivocal visible changes and necrosis. Six months later, the patient again underwent successful treatment without adverse effects. This report suggests a role for PDT using endogenous photosensitization in certain circumstances involving adenocarcinoma of the large intestine.
(Arch Surg. 1996;131:667-669)