The purpose of this study was to determine if silicon phthalocyanine 4 (Pc 4), a second-generation photosensitizer being evaluated for the photodynamic therapy (PDT) of solid tumors, was immunosuppressive. Mice treated with Pc 4 PDT 3 days before dinitrofluorobenzene sensitization showed significant suppression of their cell-mediated immune response when compared to mice that were not exposed to PDT. The response was dose dependent, required both Pc 4 and light and occurred at a skin site remote from that exposed to the laser. The immunosuppression could not be reversed by in vivo pretreatment of mice with antibodies to tumor necrosis factor-alpha or interleukin-10. These results provide evidence that induction of cell-mediated immunity is suppressed after Pc 4 PDT. Strategies that prevent PDT-mediated immunosuppression may therefore enhance the efficacy of this therapeutic modality.