Laser immunotherapy (LIT) uses a synergistic approach to treat cancer systemically through local laser irradiation and immunological stimulation. Currently, LIT utilizes dye-assisted noninvasive laser irradiation to achieve selective photothermal interaction. However, LIT faces difficulties treating deeper tumors or tumors with heavily pigmented overlying skin. To circumvent these barriers, we use interstitial laser irradiation to induce the desired photothermal effects. The purpose of this study is to analyze the thermal effects of interstitial irradiation using proton resonance frequency (PRF). An 805-nm near-infrared laser with an interstitial cylindrical diffuser was used to treat rat mammary tumors. Different power settings (1.0, 1.25, and 1.5 W) were applied with an irradiation duration of 10 min. The temperature distributions of the treated tumors were measured by a 7 T magnetic resonance imager using PRF. We found that temperature distributions in tissue depended on both laser power and time settings, and that variance in tissue composition has a major influence in temperature elevation. The temperature elevations measured during interstitial laser irradiation by PRF and thermocouple were consistent, with some variations due to tissue composition and the positioning of the thermocouple's needle probes. Our results indicated that, for a tissue irradiation of 10 min, the elevation of rat tumor temperature ranged from 8 to 11°C for 1 W and 8 to 15°C for 1.5 W. This is the first time a 7 T magnetic resonance imager has been used to monitor interstitial laser irradiation via PRF. Our work provides a basic understanding of the photothermal interaction needed to control the thermal damage inside a tumor using interstitial laser treatment. Our work may lead to an optimal protocol for future cancer treatment using interstitial phototherapy in conjunction with immunotherapy.