The sensitivity of normal brain and intracranially implanted VX2 tumour to interstitial photodynamic therapy
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The applicability and limitations of a photodynamic threshold model, used to describe quantitatively the in vivo response of tissues to photodynamic therapy, are currently being investigated in a variety of normal and malignant tumour tissues. The model states that tissue necrosis occurs when the number of photons absorbed by the photosensitiser per unit tissue volume exceeds a threshold. New Zealand White rabbits were sensitised with porphyrin-based photosensitisers. Normal brain or intracranially implanted VX2 tumours were illuminated via an optical fibre placed into the tissue at craniotomy. The light fluence distribution in the tissue was measured by multiple interstitial optical fibre detectors. The tissue concentration of the photosensitiser was determined post mortem by absorption spectroscopy. The derived photodynamic threshold values for normal brain are significantly lower than for VX2 tumour for all photosensitisers examined. Neuronal damage is evident beyond the zone of frank necrosis. For Photofrin the threshold decreases with time delay between photosensitiser administration and light treatment. No significant difference in threshold is found between Photofrin and haematoporphyrin derivative. The threshold in normal brain (grey matter) is lowest for sensitisation by 5 delta-aminolaevulinic acid. The results confirm the very high sensitivity of normal brain to porphyrin photodynamic therapy and show the importance of in situ light fluence monitoring during photodynamic irradiation.
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