Photodynamic therapy leads to both direct and indirect tumor cell death. The latter also involves the consequences of vascular shut-down and immunologic effects. While these factors are a major factor in tumor eradication, there is usually an element of direct cell killing that can reduce the cell population by as much as 2-3 logs. Necrosis was initially believed to represent the predominant PDT death mechanism. An apoptotic response to PDT was first reported by Oleinick in 1991, using a sensitizer that targets the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. Apoptosis leads to fragmentation of DNA and of cells into apoptotic bodies that are removed by phagocytosis. Inflammatory effects are minimized, and the auto- catalytic elements of the process can amplify the death signal. In this study, we examined consequences of Bcl-2 photodamage by a porphycene sensitizer that targets the ER and causes photodamage to the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2. Death patterns after Bcl-2 inactivation by a small-molecular antagonist were also assessed. In addition to apoptosis, we also characterized a hitherto undescribed PDT effect, the initiation of autophagy. Autophagy was initially identified as a cell survival pathway, allowing the recycling of components as nutrients become scarce. We propose that autophagy can also represent both a potential survival pathway after PDT damage to cellular organelles, as well as a cell-death pathway. Recent literature reports indicate that autophagy, as well as apoptosis, can be evoked after down-regulation of Bcl-2, a result consistent with results reported here.