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Determination of the minimal phototoxic dose and colorimetry in psoralen plus ultraviolet A radiation therapy

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The use of an adequate initial dose of ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation for photochemotherapy is important to prevent burns secondary to overdosage, meanwhile avoiding a reduced clinical improvement and long-term risks secondary to underdosage. The ideal initial dose of UVA can be achieved based on the phototype and the minimal phototoxic dose (MPD). The objective measurement of constitutive skin color (colorimetry) is another method commonly used to quantify the erythematous skin reaction to ultraviolet radiation exposure. The aim of this study was to determine variations in MPD and constitutional skin color (coordinate L*) within different phototypes in order to establish the best initial dose of UVA radiation for photochemotherapy patients. Methods:

Thirty-six patients with dermatological conditions and 13 healthy volunteers were divided into five groups according to phototype. Constitutional skin color of the infra-axillary area was assessed by colorimetry. The infra-axillary area was subsequently divided into twelve 1.5 cm2 regions to determine the MPD; readings were performed 72 h after oral administration of 8-methoxypsoralen (MOP) followed by exposure of the demarcated regions to increasing doses of UVA. Results:

The majority of the participants were women (73.5%) and their mean age was 38.8 years. The MPD ranged from 4 to 12 J/cm2 in phototypes II and III; from 10 to 18 J/cm2 in type IV; from 12 to 24 J/cm2 in type V and from 18 to 32 J/cm2 in type VI. The analysis of colorimetric values (L* coordinate) and MPD values allowed the definition of three distinctive groups of individuals composed by phototypes II and III (group 1), types IV and V (group 2), and phototype VI (group 3). Conclusions:

MPD and L* coordinate showed variation within the same phototype and superposition between adjacent phototypes. The values of the L* coordinate and the MPD lead to the definition of three distinct sensitivity groups: phototypes II and III, IV and V and type VI. Also, the MPD values bear a strong correlation to coordinate L* values. Mean MPD values described for each of the three major sensitivity groups were higher than the values commonly used in clinical settings for the different phototypes. Therefore, phototype alone is not a good parameter to define the initial UVA dose. MPD and colorimetry could be used in pre-treatment evaluation of patients who are to be submitted to photochemotherapy, in a non-invasive and more accurate way when compared with the classical phenotype clinical criteria.
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Keywords: PUVA; colorimetry; minimal phototoxic dose; photochemotherapy; phototype

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2005

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