"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”
A trial looking at photodynamic therapy and surgery for basal cell skin cancer
This trial compared photodynamic therapy (PDT) with surgery for basal cell skin cancer.
Basal cell skin cancer (BCC) is a type of non melanoma skin cancer. Doctors often remove BCC with surgery. This usually works very well, but can leave a scar depending on the size of the BCC removed.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is treatment using light. Doctors can treat the area of BCC, without affecting the healthy skin around it.
The aims of this trial were to find out
- How well PDT works for superficial basal cell skin cancer
- More about the side effects
Summary of results
The trial team found that photodynamic therapy (PDT) was useful for removing basal cell skin cancer and caused less scaring than surgery. But a year after treatment, they found the cancer had come back (recurred) in some people who had PDT.
196 people took part in this trial
- Half had photodynamic therapy
- Half had surgery
The researchers checked the area of skin where the BCC had been removed a year after treatment had finished. They were very pleased with how the skin looked in over 9 out of 10 people (94%) treated with PDT. This compared with 6 out of 10 people (60%) treated with surgery.
They also found that just under 1 in 10 basal cell cancers (9.3%) had come back in people who had PDT. The areas of cancer had not come back in anybody who had surgery.
The main side effect of PDT was a skin reaction to the light treatment. A very small number of people who had surgery had a mild wound infection.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Dr Sally Ibbotson
Galderma Research and Development
If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses
Freephone 0808 800 4040