Photodynamic therapy (PDT) was first used for the treatment of esophageal cancer in early 1980s, Since then, numerous applications have been reported for its use in gastrointestinal tract including Barrett's esophagus, gastric, duodenal, biliary, pancreatic and colorectal lesions. PDT in gastroenterology has made tremendous progress over the last decade but its clear role is yet to be proved. Now, there is an increasing need for less invasive methods of treatment in patients with pre-malignant disease, early cancer or those who are unfit for surgery. It is one of a number of ablative techniques currently under investigation and appears to have a number of potential advantages over other forms of treatment in the alimentary tract. The development of newer potent, highly efficient photosensitizers, as well as endoscopic imaging techniques and light delivery systems, are continuing to expand the clinical uses of PDT. As data from additional clinical trials become available, we will gain a clearer perspective of where PDT fits in the treatment of cancers.
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