Summary Context While photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a promising treatment for peritoneal carcinomatosis, its use is often limited because of the toxicity of photosensitizers. In this study, safety of PDT with hexaminoevulinate (HAL), a second generation photosensitizer, is assessed. Methods PDT of the peritoneal cavity was performed in a rat model of peritoneal carcinomatosis. Rats were treated according to different protocols: with full or half HAL dose, after intraperitoneal or oral administration of HAL, 4 or 8h after its injection, using red or green light, after protection of the liver or cooling of the abdominal wall. Toxicity was assessed by blood tests quantifying hematocrit, liver and muscular enzymes and by pathological examination of abdominal and intrathoracic organs after treatment. The results were analyzed in the light of quantification of fluorescence and protoporphyrin IX (PPIX) content of the same organs. Results PDT with HAL induced rhabdomyolysis, intestinal necrosis and liver function test anomalies, leading to death in 2 out of 34 rats. The liver and the intestine contained high levels of PPIX (3–5 times more than tumor nodules). Conclusion HAL PDT lacked specificity. However, the strategy associating diagnosis, treatment and evaluation of the results in one single procedure was effective and should be tested with other photosensitizers.