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Cancer. 1993 Jan 1;71(1):269-76.

Fluorescence detection of tumors. Early diagnosis of microscopic lesions in preclinical studies.

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Photodynamic Therapy Center, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263.



The growth of microscopic tumor lesions at or beyond treatment field margins poses a major problem in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Early detection techniques that clearly define the location or field spread of disease may improve the planning of disease treatment.


In vivo fluorescence photometry is a non-imaging technique that digitally displays relative fluorescence values in volts proportional to the luminescence intensity detected by a silicon photodiode. The sensitivity of the instrument has allowed the detection of micrometastases in preclinical studies.


Statistical analysis demonstrates that the photosensitizer Photofrin (dihematoporphyrin ether and/or ester) (Quadra Logic Technologies, QLT, Vancouver, B.C., Canada), currently used for photodynamic therapy, administered in doses lower than those used in clinical studies, is useful for the detection of occult disease. With the drug doses used, cutaneous photosensitivity was avoided in the animal models tested. The results in Lobund-Wistar rats with transplantable prostatic adenocarcinoma (PA-III) demonstrated the utility of this technique in detecting clinically occult disease, with a prediction rate of approximately 94% with drug doses as low as 0.25-0.5 mg/kg.


With the use of the hamster buccal cavity model involving the initiation and promotion of premalignant and malignant conditions by 9,10 dimethyl-1,2-benzanthracene, the technique could discern these two stages of disease with significance levels that were less than 0.05 and 0.01, respectively.

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