Abstract. Objectives: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) and inhibition of cathepsin B proteases by cystatin (cysteine proteinase inhibitor, CPI) are potential new tumour treatment modalities. We have investigated the efficacy of PDT and CPI alone and in combination on a solid mammary carcinoma transplanted into Wistar rats. Materials and Methods: Intraperitoneally injected single doses of chlorine e6 or HpD as photosensitizers were excited at 630 nm (90 J/cm2). CPI (500 µg per animal) was injected around the tumour daily during the 8-day treatment. Inoculation of tumour was either on day 1 of the protocol, or 8 days before. On day 8, tumour size was measured, tumour necrosis and vascularization were determined based on haematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained sections and serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. Results: No differences (two-way anova) were found for treatments started with various time lags. At doses where CPI or PDT alone had no or negligible effect, their combination caused a marked (P < 0.001) decrease in serum VEGF, paralleled by a significant decrease in tumour size and number of capillary vessels, and a significant increase in necrosis (up to 80% of the tumour tissue). Conclusions: The combination of PDT and CPI could be a useful approach in tumour therapy as the two agents appear to be synergistic and probably decrease VEGF production by the tumour tissue.