NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms
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aminolevulinic acid (uh-MEE-noh-LEH-vyoo-LIH-nik A-sid)
The active ingredient in a drug used to treat actinic keratosis (a skin condition that may become cancer). The drug is also being studied in the treatment of squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers and other types of cancer. When aminolevulinic acid is taken up by cells, including cancer cells, and then exposed to certain types of light, it becomes active and kills the cells. It is a type of photosensitizing agent.