“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”
A trial looking at photodynamic therapy and surgery for basal cell skin cancer
We know that this is an especially worrying time for people with cancer and their family and friends. We have separate information about coronavirus and cancer. Please read that information alongside this page. We will update that information as guidance changes.
This trial compared photodynamic therapy (PDT) with surgery for basal cell skin cancer.
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
Dr Sally Ibbotson
Galderma Research and Development