PhotoCure - Metvix® Results from Difficult to Treat Basal Cell Carcinoma Study in Australia

In the present study, 89% of the lesions had disappeared completely 3 months after treatment. The response was verified histologically (1-6 cell samples per tumour lesion). The cosmetic outcome in the areas that were treated with Metvix® PDT was graded as "excellent" or "good" in most of the patients (65%) and a clear majority (61%) of the patients preferred Metvix® PDT to other treatment options.

In order to determine the efficacy of new cancer therapies, patients must be followed for several years to determine the long-term outcome. The patients in this study will be examined every year until they have been followed up for 5 years after treatment.

Dr. Carl Vinciullo of the Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia, who is the lead investigator for this study, says: "The prospects for PDT as an emerging treatment for "high risk" basal cell carcinoma are very promising. We have found that patient acceptance is very high because of the non-invasive nature of the treatment. Large tumours on the trunk and limbs and some in difficult locations are particularly well suited to the treatment, as are those patients in whom surgery presents great risk because of reasons of age or other illness."

About two million new cases of basal cell carcinom (BCC) occur worldwide every year making this the most common form of cancer among Caucasians. Compared to the rest of the world, Australia has the highest frequency of these sun induced skin diseases and an estimated 200,000 new patients with BCC are treated in Australia each year. BCC is a type of skin cancer that rarely metastasises, but it can spread slowly just beneath the skin surface. If it is left without adequate treatment it may become very difficult to treat.

Photodynamic therapy is a novel treatment which involves application of a cream, Metvix®, which is activated by red light (CureLight), so that the skin cancer lesions are selectively destroyed, leaving the normal skin to heal without scars.