Photon diffusion theory was used to model photobleaching and tissue necrosis resulting from broad-beam therapeutic light irradiation of tissue containing a photosensitizer. The photosensitizer fluorescence signal at the tissue surface was simulated with both broad-beam and pencil-beam excitation. The relationship between the decreasing fluorescence signal and the increasing depth of tissue photodynamic damage during treatment was examined. By analyzing spatially resolved fluorescence measured at the tissue surface in terms of an equivalent virtual point or planar source of fluorescence within the tissue, predictions of necrosis depth that are insensitive to a range of initial treatment parameters were shown to be possible. Preliminary measurements in tissue-simulating phantoms supported the main theoretical findings. The potential value and feasibility of this technique for photodynamic therapy dosimetry are discussed.
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