Long-Term Efficacy of Photodynamic Therapy with Fractionated 5-Aminolevulinic Acid 20% versus Conventional Two-Stage Topical Methyl Aminolevulinate for Superficial Basal-Cell Carcinoma

Lieke C J van Delft*, Patty J Nelemans, Janneke P H M Kessels, Hilke Kreukels, Marieke H Roozeboom, Michette J M de Rooij, Klara Mosterd, Ellen R M de Haas, Nicole W J Kelleners-Smeets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a noninvasive treatment for patients with superficial basal-cell carcinoma (sBCC). The efficacy of PDT may vary with different photosensitizers and treatment schedules.

OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to evaluate whether fractionated 5-aminolevulinic acid 20% (ALA)-PDT is superior to conventional two-stage methyl aminolevulinate (MAL)-PDT for sBCC.

METHODS: We present the 5 years results of a single-blind, randomized, multicenter trial. 162 patients with a histologically confirmed primary sBCC were randomized to fractionated ALA-PDT or MAL-PDT.

RESULTS: The 5-year tumor-free survival rate was 70.7% (95% CI 58.2-80.1%) for ALA-PDT and 76.5% (95% CI 64.4-85.0%) for MAL-PDT. In the first 3 years, there was no significant difference in risk of treatment failure (HR = 1.53, p = 0.283), but in the long-term, the risk of recurrence was significantly lower following MAL-PDT compared to ALA-PDT (HR = 0.125, p = 0.049). As judged by patients, the esthetic result was good-excellent in 96.8% (61/63) and 94.4% (56/59) of patients treated with ALA-PDT and MAL-PDT, respectively (p = 0.631).

CONCLUSION: The long-term efficacy is significantly higher for conventional two-stage MAL-PDT than for fractionated ALA-PDT, whereas there was no significant difference in esthetic outcome between the treatments at 5 years after treatment. These results indicate that fractionated ALA-PDT offers no benefit over conventional two-stage MAL-PDT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1044-1049
Number of pages6
Issue number6
Early online date20 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Cosmetic result
  • Light fractionation
  • Long-term analysis
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Superficial basal-cell carcinoma
  • Tumor-free survival

Cite this