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1.  Reduction of tumour oxygenation during and after photodynamic therapy in vivo: effects of fluence rate. 
British Journal of Cancer  1998;77(9):1386-1394.
It has been proposed that the generation of O2 during photodynamic therapy (PDT) may lead to photochemical depletion of ambient tumour oxygen, thus causing acute hypoxia and limiting treatment effectiveness. We have studied the effects of fluence rate on pO2, in the murine RIF tumour during and after PDT using 5 mg kg(-1) Photofrin and fluence rates of 30, 75 or 150 mW cm(-2). Median pO2 before PDT ranged from 2.9 to 5.2 mmHg in three treatment groups. Within the first minute of illumination, median tumour pO2 decreased with all fluence rates to values between 0.7 and 1.1 mmHg. These effects were rapidly and completely reversible if illumination was interrupted. During prolonged illumination (20-50 J cm(-2)) pO2 recovered at the 30 mW cm(-2) fluence rate to a median value of 7.4 mmHg, but remained low at the 150 mW cm(-2) fluence rate (median pO2 1.7 mmHg). Fluence rate effects were not found after PDT, and at both 30 and 150 mW cm(-2) median tumour pO2 fell from control levels to 1.0-1.8 mmHg within 1-3 h after treatment conclusion. PDT with 100 J cm(-2) at 30 mW cm(-2) caused significantly (P = 0.0004) longer median tumour regrowth times than PDT at 150 mW cm(-2), indicating that lower fluence rate can improve PDT response. Vascular perfusion studies uncovered significant fluence rate-dependent differences in the responses of the normal and tumour vasculature. These data establish a direct relationship between tumour pO2, the fluence rate applied during PDT and treatment outcome. The findings are of immediate clinical relevance.
PMCID: PMC2150183  PMID: 9652753
2.  In-vivo singlet oxygen threshold doses for PDT 
Dosimetry of singlet oxygen (1O2) is of particular interest because it is the major cytotoxic agent causing biological effects for type-II photosensitizers during photodynamic therapy (PDT). An in-vivo model to determine the singlet oxygen threshold dose, [1O2]rx,sh, for PDT was developed.
Material and methods
An in-vivo radiation-induced fibrosarcoma (RIF) tumor mouse model was used to correlate the radius of necrosis to the calculation based on explicit PDT dosimetry of light fluence distribution, tissue optical properties, and photosensitizer concentrations. Inputs to the model include five photosensitizer-specific photochemical parameters along with [1O2]rx,sh. Photosensitizer-specific model parameters were determined for benzoporphyrin derivative monoacid ring A (BPD) and compared with two other type-II photosensitizers, Photofrin® and m-tetrahydroxyphenylchlorin (mTHPC) from the literature.
The mean values (standard deviation) of the in-vivo [1O2]rx,sh are approximately 0.56 (0.26) and 0.72 (0.21) mM (or 3.6×107 and 4.6×107 singlet oxygen per cell to reduce the cell survival to 1/e) for Photofrin® and BPD, respectively, assuming that the fraction of generated singlet oxygen that interacts with the cell is 1. While the values for the photochemical parameters (ξ, σ, g, β) used for BPD were preliminary and may need further refinement, there is reasonable confidence for the values of the singlet oxygen threshold doses.
In comparison, the [1O2]rx,sh value derived from in-vivo mouse study was reported to be 0.4 mM for mTHPC-PDT. However, the singlet oxygen required per cell is reported to be 9×108 per cell per 1/e fractional kill in an in-vitro mTHPC-PDT study on a rat prostate cancer cell line (MLL cells) and is reported to be 7.9 mM for a multicell in-vitro EMT6/Ro spheroid model for mTHPC-PDT. A theoretical analysis is provided to relate the number of in-vitro singlet oxygen required per cell to reach cell killing of 1/e to in-vivo singlet oxygen threshold dose (in mM). The sensitivity of threshold singlet oxygen dose for our experiment is examined. The possible influence of vascular vs. apoptotic cell killing mechanisms on the singlet oxygen threshold dose is discussed by comparing [1O2]rx,sh for BPD with 3 hr and 15 min drug-light-intervals, with the later being known to have a dominantly vascular effect.
The experimental results of threshold singlet oxygen concentration in an in-vivo RIF tumor model for Photofrin®, BPD, and mTHPC are about 20 times smaller than those observed in vitro. These results are consistent with knowledge that factors other than singlet oxygen-mediated tumor cell killing can contribute to PDT damage in-vivo.
PMCID: PMC4410434  PMID: 25927018
photodynamic therapy; singlet oxygen production; oxygen dependence of singlet oxygen quantum yield
3.  Fluence Rate-Dependent Intratumor Heterogeneity in Physiologic and Cytotoxic Responses to Photofrin Photodynamic Therapy 
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) can lead to the creation of heterogeneous, response-limiting hypoxia during illumination, which may be controlled in part through illumination fluence rate. In the present report we consider 1) regional differences in hypoxia, vascular response, and cell kill as a function of tumor depth and 2) the role of fluence rate as a mediator of depth-dependent regional intratumor heterogeneity. Intradermal RIF murine tumors were treated with Photofrin-PDT using surface illumination at an irradiance of 75 or 38 mW/cm2. Regional heterogeneity in tumor response was examined through comparison of effects in the surface vs. base of tumors, i.e. along a plane parallel to the skin surface and perpendicular to the incident illumination. 75 mW/cm2-PDT created significantly greater hypoxia in tumor bases relative to their surfaces. Increased hypoxia in the tumor base could not be attributed to regional differences in Photofrin concentration nor effects of fluence rate distribution on photochemical oxygen consumption, but significant depth-dependent heterogeneity in vascular responses and cytotoxic response were detected. At a lower fluence rate of 38 mW/cm2, no detectable regional differences in hypoxia or cytotoxic responses were apparent, and heterogeneity in vascular response was significantly less than that during 75 mW/cm2-PDT. This research suggests that the benefits of low-fluence-rate-PDT are mediated in part by a reduction in intratumor heterogeneity in hypoxic, vascular and cytotoxic responses.
PMCID: PMC2834171  PMID: 20024165
photodynamic therapy; fluence rate; hypoxia; EF3; blood flow
4.  In vivo determination of the absorption and scattering spectra of the human prostate during photodynamic therapy 
A continuing challenge in photodynamic therapy is the accurate in vivo determination of the optical properties of the tissue being treated. We have developed a method for characterizing the absorption and scattering spectra of prostate tissue undergoing PDT treatment. Our current prostate treatment protocol involves interstitial illumination of the organ via cylindrical diffusing optical fibers (CDFs) inserted into the prostate through clear catheters. We employ one of these catheters to insert an isotropic white light point source into the prostate. An isotropic detection fiber connected to a spectrograph is inserted into a second catheter a known distance away. The detector is moved along the catheter by a computer-controlled step motor, acquiring diffuse light spectra at 2 mm intervals along its path. We model the fluence rate as a function of wavelength and distance along the detector’s path using an infinite medium diffusion theory model whose free parameters are the absorption coefficient µa at each wavelength and two variables A and b which characterize the reduced scattering spectrum of the form µ’s = Aλ−b. We analyze our spectroscopic data using a nonlinear fitting algorithm to determine A, b, and µa at each wavelength independently; no prior knowledge of the absorption spectrum or of the sample’s constituent absorbers is required. We have tested this method in tissue simulating phantoms composed of intralipid and the photosensitizer motexafin lutetium (MLu). The MLu absorption spectrum recovered from the phantoms agrees with that measured in clear solution, and µa at the MLu absorption peak varies linearly with concentration. The µ’s spectrum reported by the fit is in agreement with the known scattering coefficient of intralipid. We have applied this algorithm to spectroscopic data from human patients sensitized with MLu (2 mg kg−1) acquired before and after PDT. Before PDT, the absorption spectra we measure include the characteristic MLu absorption peak. Using our phantom data as a calibration, we have determined the pre-treatment MLu concentration to be approximately 2 to 8 mg kg−1. After PDT, the concentration is reduced to 1 to 2.5 mg kg−1, an indication of photobleaching induced by irradiation. In addition, absorption features corresponding to the oxygenated and deoxygenated forms of hemoglobin indicate a reduction in tissue oxygenation during treatment.
PMCID: PMC4489148  PMID: 26146442
photodynamic therapy; motexafin lutetium; in-vivo light dosimetry; tissue optical properties; diffusion theory; diffuse reflectance
5.  Motexafin lutetium-photodynamic therapy of prostate cancer: Short and long term effects on PSA 
The time course of serum PSA response to photodynamic therapy (PDT) of prostate cancer was measured.
Experimental Design:
Seventeen patients were treated in a Phase I trial of motexafin lutetium-PDT. PDT dose was calculated in each patient as the product of the ex vivo-measured pre-PDT photosensitizer level and the in situ-measured light dose. Serum PSA level was measured within two months prior to PDT (baseline), and at day 1; weeks 1-3; months 1, 2 and 3; months 4-6 and months 7-11 after PDT.
At 24h after PDT, serum PSA increased by 98±36% (mean ± SE) relative to baseline levels (p=0.007). When patients were dichotomized based on median PDT dose, those who received high PDT dose demonstrated a 119±52% increase in PSA compared to a 54±27% increase in patients treated at low PDT dose. Patients treated with high vs. low PDT dose demonstrated a median biochemical delay of 82 vs. 43 days (p=0.024), with biochemical delay defined as the length of time between PDT and a nonreversible increase in PSA to a value ≥baseline.
Results show PDT to induce large, transient increases in serum PSA levels. Patients who experienced high PDT dose demonstrated greater short-term increase in PSA and a significantly more durable PSA response (biochemical delay). These data strongly promote the need for individualized delivery of PDT dose and assessment of treatment effect in PDT of prostate cancer. Information gained from such patient-specific measurements could facilitate the introduction of multiple PDT sessions in patients who would benefit.
PMCID: PMC2680073  PMID: 18676760
motexafin lutetium; prostate; PSA; PDT dose; photosensitizer concentration
6.  Disruption of the Blood–Brain Barrier Following ALA-Mediated Photodynamic Therapy 
Lasers in surgery and medicine  2008;40(8):535-542.
Background and Objective
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a local antineoplastic treatment with the potential for tumor cell specificity. PDT using either hematoporphyrin derivatives or 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) has been reported to induce brain edema indicating disruption of the blood–brain barrier (BBB). We have evaluated the ability of ALA-mediated PDT to open the BBB in rats. This will permit access of chemotherapeutic agents to brain tumor cells remaining in the resection cavity wall, but limit their penetration into normal brain remote from the site of illumination.
Study Design/Materials and Methods
ALA-PDT was performed on non-tumor bearing inbred Fischer rats at increasing fluence levels. Contrast T1-weighted high field (3 T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were used to monitor the degree of BBB disruption which could be inferred from the intensity and volume of the contrast agent visualized.
PDT at increasing fluence levels between 9 and 26 J demonstrated an increasing contrast flow rate. A similar increased contrast volume was observed with increasing fluence rates. The BBB was found to be disrupted 2 hours following PDT and 80–100% restored 72 hours later at the lowest fluence level. No effect on the BBB was observed if 26 J of light was given in the absence of ALA.
ALA-PDT was highly effective in opening the BBB in a localized region of the brain. The degradation of the BBB was temporary in nature at fluence levels of 9 J, opening rapidly following treatment and significantly restored during the next 72 hours. No signs of tissue damage were seen on histological sections at this fluence level. However, higher fluences did demonstrate permanent tissue changes localized in the immediate vicinity of the light source.
PMCID: PMC2667623  PMID: 18798293
brain edema; fischer rat; fluence; fluence rate; magnetic resonance imaging; malignant glioma
7.  Tumor Vascular Microenvironment Determines Responsiveness to Photodynamic Therapy 
Cancer Research  2012;72(8):2079-2088.
The efficacy of photodynamic therapy (PDT) depends upon the delivery of both photosensitizing drug and oxygen. In this study, we hypothesized that local vascular microenvironment is a determinant of tumor response to PDT. Tumor vascularization and its basement membrane (collagen) were studied as a function of supplementation with basement membrane matrix (Matrigel) at the time of tumor cell inoculation. Effects on vascular composition with consequences to tumor hypoxia, photosensitizer uptake and PDT response were measured. Matrigel-supplemented tumors developed more normalized vasculature, composed of smaller and more uniformly-spaced blood vessels than their unsupplemented counterparts, but these changes did not affect tumor oxygenation or PDT-mediated direct cytotoxicity. However, PDT-induced vascular damage increased in Matrigel-supplemented tumors, following an affinity of the photosensitizer Photofrin for collagen-containing vascular basement membrane coupled with increased collagen content in these tumors. The more highly-collagenated tumors demonstrated more vascular congestion and ischemia after PDT, along with a higher probability of curative outcome that was collagen dependent. In the presence of photosensitizer-collagen localization, PDT effects on collagen were evidenced by a decrease in its association with vessels. Together, our findings demonstrate that photosensitizer localization to collagen increases vascular damage and improves treatment efficacy in tumors with greater collagen content. The vascular basement membrane is thus identified to be a determinant of therapeutic outcome in PDT of tumors.
PMCID: PMC3328659  PMID: 22374982
collagen; photodynamic therapy; microenvironment; normalization; vasculature
8.  In-vivo outcome study of HPPH mediated PDT using singlet oxygen explicit dosimetry (SOED) 
Type II photodynamic therapy (PDT) is based on the use of photochemical reactions mediated through an interaction between a tumor-selective photosensitizer, photoexcitation with a specific wavelength of light, and production of reactive singlet oxygen. However, the medical application of this technique has been limited due to inaccurate PDT dosimetric methods. The goal of this study is to examine the relationship between outcome (in terms of tumor growth rate) and calculated reacted singlet oxygen concentration ([1O2]rx) after HPPH-mediated PDT to compare with other PDT dose metrics, such as PDT dose or total light fluence. Mice with radiation-induced fibrosarcoma (RIF) tumors were treated with different light fluence and fluence rate conditions. Explicit measurements of photosensitizer drug concentration and tissue optical properties via fluorescence and absorption measurement with a contact probe before and after PDT were taken to then quantify total light fluence, PDT dose, and [1O2]rx based on a macroscopic model of singlet oxygen. In addition, photobleaching of photosenitizer were measured during PDT as a second check of the model. Changes in tumor volume were tracked following treatment and compared to the three calculated dose metrics. The correlations between total light fluence, PDT dose, reacted [1O2]rx and tumor growth demonstrate that [1O2]rx serves as a better dosimetric quantity for predicting treatment outcome and a clinically relevant tumor growth endpoint.
PMCID: PMC4437638  PMID: 25999656
photodynamic therapy; singlet oxygen; HPPH photosensitizer; in-vivo mice study
9.  Parameter determination for BPD mediated vascularPDT 
The cell killing mechanism of benzoporphyrin derivative monoacid ring A (BPD) is known to be predominantly apoptotic or vascular, depending on the drug-light interval (DLI). With a 3 hour DLI, necrosis develops secondary to tumor cell damage, while with a 15 minute DLI, necrosis results from treatment-created vascular damage. The purpose of this study is to examine if the different mechanisms of cell death will affect the photochemical parameters for the macroscopic singlet oxygen model. Using the RIF model of murine fibrosarcoma, we determined the four photochemical parameters (ξ, σ, β, γ) and the threshold singlet oxygen dose for BPD-mediated PDT through evaluation of the extent of tumor necrosis as a function of PDT fluence rate and total fluence. Mice were treated with a linear source at fluence rates from 12–150 mW/cm and total fluences from 24–135 J/cm. BPD was administered at 1mg/kg with a 15 minute DLI, followed by light delivery at 690nm. Tumors were excised at 24 hours after PDT and necrosis was analyzed via H&E staining. The in-vivo BPD drug concentration is determined to be in the range of 0.05–0.30 μM. The determination of these parameters specific for BPD and the 15 minute DLI provides necessary data for predicting treatment outcome in clinical BPD-mediated PDT. Photochemical parameters will be compared between 1mg/kg DLI 3 hours and 1mg/kg DLI 15 minutes.
PMCID: PMC4437733  PMID: 25999653
10.  Optical Properties of Human Prostate at 732 nm Measured In Vivo During Motexafin Lutetium–mediated Photodynamic Therapy¶ 
Photochemistry and photobiology  2005;81(1):96-105.
Characterization of the tissue light penetration in prostate photodynamic therapy (PDT) is important to plan the arrangement and weighting of light sources so that sufficient light fluence is delivered to the treatment volume. The optical properties (absorption [μa], transport scattering [μs′] and effective attenuation [μeff] coefficients) of 13 patients with locally recurrent prostate cancer were measured in situ using interstitial isotropic detectors. Measurements were made at 732 nm before and after motexafin lutetium (MLu)-mediated PDT in four quadrants. Optical properties were derived by applying the diffusion theory to the fluence rates measured at several distances (0.5–5 cm) from a point source. μa and μs′ varied between 0.07 and 1.62 cm−1 (mean 0.37 ± 0.24 cm−1) and 1.1 and 44 cm−1 (mean 14 ± 11 cm−1), respectively. μa was proportional to the concentration of MLu measured by an ex vivo fluorescence assay. We have observed, on average, a reduction of the MLu concentration after PDT, presumably due to the PDT consumption of MLu. μeff varied between 0.91 and 6.7 cm−1 (mean 2.9 ± 0.7 cm−1), corresponding to an optical penetration depth (δ = 1/μeff) of 0.1–1.1 cm (mean 0.4 ± 0.1 cm). The mean penetration depth at 732 nm in human prostate is at least two times smaller than that found in normal canine prostates, which can be explained by a four times increase of the mean value of μs′ in human prostates. The mean light fluence rate per unit source strength at 0.5 cm from a point source was 1.5 ± 1.1 cm−2, excluding situations when bleeding occurs. The total number of measurements was N = 121 for all mean quantities listed above. This study showed significant inter- and intraprostatic differences in the optical properties, suggesting that a real-time dosimetry measurement and feedback system for monitoring light fluences during treatment should be considered for future PDT studies.
PMCID: PMC4474534  PMID: 15535736
11.  In vivo measurement of fluorescence emission in the human prostate during photodynamic therapy 
Among the challenges to the clinical implementation of photodynamic therapy (PDT) is the delivery of a uniform photodynamic dose to induce uniform damage to the target tissue. As the photodynamic dose depends on both the local sensitizer concentration and the local fluence rate of treatment light, knowledge of both of these factors is essential to the delivery of uniform dose. In this paper, we investigate the distribution and kinetics of the photosensitizer motexafin lutetium (MLu, Lutrin®) as revealed by its fluorescence emission. Our current prostate treatment protocol involves interstitial illumination of the organ via cylindrical diffusing fibers (CDF’s) inserted into the prostate though clear catheters. For planning and treatment purposes, the prostate is divided into 4 quadrants. We use one catheter in each quadrant to place an optical fiber-based fluorescence probe into the prostate. This fiber is terminated in a beveled tip, allowing it to deliver and collect light perpendicular to the fiber axis. Excitation light is provided by a 465 nm light emitting diode (LED) source coupled to a dichroic beamsplitter, which passes the collected fluorescence emission to a CCD spectrograph. Spectra are obtained before and after PDT treatment in each quadrant of the prostate and are analyzed via a linear fitting algorithm to separate the MLu fluorescence from the background fluorescence originating in the plastic catheter. A computer-controlled step motor allows the excitation/detection fiber to be moved along the catheter, building up a linear profile of the fluorescence emission spectrum of the tissue as a function of position. We have analyzed spectral fluorescence profiles obtained in 4 patients before and after MLu-mediated PDT. We find significant variation both within individual prostates and among patients. Within a single quadrant, we have observed the fluorescence signal to change by as much as a factor of 3 over a distance of 2 cm. Comparisons of pre- and post-PDT spectra allow a quantification treatment-induced photobleaching. Like the drug distribution, the extent of photobleaching varies widely among patients. In two cases, we observed bleaching of approximately 50% of the drug, while others exhibited negligible photobleaching.
PMCID: PMC4484877  PMID: 26136613
12.  Factors Influencing Tumor Response to Photodynamic Therapy Sensitized by Intratumor Administration of Methylene Blue 
Lasers in surgery and medicine  2010;42(8):728-735.
Background and Objective
We examined tumor response to methylene blue (MB)-mediated photodynamic therapy (PDT) in a murine tumor model. The goal was to investigate the effects of drug-light interval (DLI), injection vehicle, and fluence on tumor destruction. Fluorescence and reflectance spectroscopy informed our understanding.
Materials and Methods
EMT6 tumor cells were implanted intradermally on the backs of female BALB/c mice and grown to ~ 4-mm diameter. Mice were given a 35 μL, single site, intratumor injection of 500 μg/mL MB administered in either a water or a 5% ethanol-5% Cremophor-90% saline vehicle. PDT was begun either immediately or after a 1-hour DLI with a fluence rate of 60 mW/cm2. Each animal received a fluence of 240 or 480 J/cm2. Fluorescence and reflectance spectra were captured before and during irradiation.
A protocol consisting of the Cremophor-based vehicle, 0 DLI, and a fluence of 480 J/cm2 was the most effective, with a 55% cure rate as measured by no evidence of tumor 90 days after PDT. Use of the water vehicle with this fluence and DLI reduced the cure rate to 20%. Reducing the fluence to 240 J/cm2 similarly reduced treatment efficacy with 0 and 1-h DLIs. Univariate Cox proportional hazards analysis identified increased fluence, 0 vs. 1-h DLI, and the Cremophor vs. water vehicle as highly significant independent predictors of long term tumor control (p < 0.01 in each case). Multivariate analysis with model selection revealed fluence and injection vehicle as the best predictors of survival hazards. Fluorescence spectroscopy in vivo showed that MB fluorescence decreased monotonically during a 2-h dark interval but was restored by irradiation. Reflectance spectroscopy revealed that MB at this injected concentration attenuates the treatment beam significantly.
Sensitizer delivery vehicle, drug-light interval, and fluence contribute significantly to the tumor response to MB-mediated PDT.
PMCID: PMC2948599  PMID: 20848552
fluorescence spectroscopy; methylene blue; photodynamic therapy; reflectance spectroscopy
13.  The Vascular Disrupting Agent 5,6-Dimethylxanthenone-4-Acetic Acid Improves the Antitumor Efficacy and Shortens Treatment Time Associated with Photochlor-sensitized Photodynamic Therapy In Vivo 
In this report, we examined the antitumor activity of photodynamic therapy (PDT) in combination with 5,6-dimethylxanthenone- 4-acetic acid (DMXAA), a vascular disrupting agent currently undergoing clinical evaluation. BALB/c mice bearing subcutaneous CT-26 colon carcinomas were treated with PDT using the second-generation chlorin-based sensitizer, 2-[1-hexyloxyethyl]-2-devinyl pyropheophorbide-a (Photochlor) with or without DMXAA. Long-term (60-days) treatment outcome, induction of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin- 6 (IL-6), vascular damage (microvessel density, MVD) were evaluated as endpoints. In addition, treatment selectivity was evaluated using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the foot response assay. A highly synergistic interaction was observed with the combination of low-dose DMXAA and PDT (48 J cm−2 at 112 mW cm−2) resulting in ~60% long-term cures. The duration of the PDT session for this combination therapy protocol was only 7 min, while the duration of a monotherapy PDT session, selected to yield the equivalent cure rate, was 152 min. MRI showed markedly less peritumoral edema after DMXAA + short-duration PDT compared with long-duration PDT monotherapy. Similarly, DMXAA + PDT caused significantly less phototoxicity to normal mouse foot tissue than PDT alone. Increased induction of cytokines TNF-α and IL-6 (P < 0.001) was observed at 4 h followed by extensive vascular damage, demonstrated by a significant reduction in MVD at 24 h after combination treatment. In conclusion, Photochlorsensitized PDT in combination with DMXAA exhibits superior efficacy and improved selectivity with clinically feasible illumination schemes. Clinical evaluation of this novel combination strategy is currently being planned.
PMCID: PMC2897069  PMID: 18643909
14.  Comparison of singlet oxygen threshold dose for PDT 
Macroscopic modeling of singlet oxygen (1O2) is of particular interest because it is the major cytotoxic agent causing biological effects for type II photosensitizers during PDT. We have developed a macroscopic model to calculate reacted singlet oxygen concentration ([1O2]rx for PDT. An in-vivo RIF tumor mouse model is used to correlate the necrosis depth to the calculation based on explicit PDT dosimetry of light fluence distribution, tissue optical properties, and photosensitizer concentrations. Inputs to the model include 4 photosensitizer specific photochemical parameters along with the apparent singlet oxygen threshold concentration. Photosensitizer specific model parameters are determined for several type II photosensitizers (Photofrin, BPD, and HPPH). The singlet oxygen threshold concentration is approximately 0.41 – 0.56 mM for all three photosensitizers studied, assuming that the fraction of singlet oxygen generated that interacts with the cell is (f = 1). In comparison, value derived from other in-vivo mice studies is 0.4 mM for mTHPC. However, the singlet oxygen threshold doses were reported to be 7.9 and 12.1 mM for a multicell in-vitro EMT6/Ro spheroid model for mTHPC and Photofrin PDT, respectively. The sensitivity of threshold singlet oxygen dose for our experiment is examined. The possible influence of vascular vs. apoptotic cell killing mechanism on the singlet oxygen threshold dose is discussed using the BPD with different drug-light intervals 3 hrs vs. 15 min. The observed discrepancies between different experiments warrant further investigation to explain the cause of the difference.
PMCID: PMC4437725  PMID: 25999651
photodynamic therapy; singlet oxygen production; oxygen dependence of singlet oxygen quantum yield
15.  Determination of the distribution of light, optical properties, drug concentration, and tissue oxygenation in-vivo in human prostate during motexafin lutetium-mediated photodynamic therapy 
It is desirable to quantify the distribution of the light fluence rate, the optical properties, the drug concentration, and the tissue oxygenation for photodynamic therapy (PDT) of prostate cancer. We have developed an integrated system to determine these quantities before and after PDT treatment using motorized probes. The optical properties (absorption (μa), transport scattering (μs′), and effective attenuation (μeff) coefficients) of cancerous human prostate were measured in-vivo using interstitial isotropic detectors. Measurements were made at 732 nm before and after motexafin lutetium (MLu) mediated PDT at different locations along each catheter. The light fluence rate distribution was also measured along the catheters during PDT. Diffuse absorption spectroscopy measurement using a white light source allows extrapolation of the distribution of oxygen saturation (StO2), total blood volume ([Hb]t), and MLu concentration. The distribution of drug concentration was also studied using fluorescence from a single optical fiber, and was found to be in good agreement with the values determined by absorption spectroscopy. This study shows significant inter- and intra-prostatic variations in the tissue optical properties and MLu drug distribution, suggesting that a real-time dosimetry measurement and feedback system for monitoring these values during treatment should be considered in future PDT studies.
PMCID: PMC4470428  PMID: 15896650
PDT; In-vivo; Optical properties; Prostate; MLu; Motexafin lutetium
16.  Mechanisms of Resistance to Photodynamic Therapy 
Current medicinal chemistry  2011;18(16):2486-2515.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) involves the administration of a photosensitizer (PS) followed by illumination with visible light, leading to generation of reactive oxygen species. The mechanisms of resistance to PDT ascribed to the PS may be shared with the general mechanisms of drug resistance, and are related to altered drug uptake and efflux rates or altered intracellular trafficking. As a second step, an increased inactivation of oxygen reactive species is also associated to PDT resistance via antioxidant detoxifying enzymes and activation of heat shock proteins. Induction of stress response genes also occurs after PDT, resulting in modulation of proliferation, cell detachment and inducing survival pathways among other multiple extracellular signalling events. In addition, an increased repair of induced damage to proteins, membranes and occasionally to DNA may happen. PDT-induced tissue hypoxia as a result of vascular damage and photochemical oxygen consumption may also contribute to the appearance of resistant cells.
The structure of the PS is believed to be a key point in the development of resistance, being probably related to its particular subcellular localization.
Although most of the features have already been described for chemoresistance, in many cases, no cross-resistance between PDT and chemotherapy has been reported. These findings are in line with the enhancement of PDT efficacy by combination with chemotherapy. The study of cross resistance in cells with developed resistance against a particular PS challenged against other PS is also highly complex and comprises different mechanisms.
In this review we will classify the different features observed in PDT resistance, leading to a comparison with the mechanisms most commonly found in chemo resistant cells.
PMCID: PMC3780570  PMID: 21568910
chemoresistance; cross resistance; PDT; photodynamic therapy; photosensitizer; resistance; apoptosis; photosensitizers; mechanisms; porphyrins; MDR
17.  Choline PET for Monitoring Early Tumor Response to Photodynamic Therapy 
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a relatively new therapy that has shown promise for treating various cancers in both preclinical and clinical studies. The present study evaluated the potential use of PET with radiolabeled choline to monitor early tumor response to PDT in animal models.
Two human prostate cancer models (PC-3 and CWR22) were studied in athymic nude mice. A second-generation photosensitizer, phthalocyanine 4 (Pc 4), was delivered to each animal by a tail vein injection 48 h before laser illumination. Small-animal PET images with 11C-choline were acquired before PDT and at 1, 24, and 48 h after PDT. Time–activity curves of 11C-choline uptake were analyzed before and after PDT. The percentage of the injected dose per gram of tissue was quantified for both treated and control tumors at each time point. In addition, Pc 4-PDT was performed in cell cultures. Cell viability and 11C-choline uptake in PDT-treated and control cells were measured.
For treated tumors, normalized 11C-choline uptake decreased significantly 24 and 48 h after PDT, compared with the same tumors before PDT (P < 0.001). For the control tumors, normalized 11C-choline uptake increased significantly. For mice with CWR22 tumors, the prostate-specific antigen level decreased 24 and 48 h after PDT. Pc 4-PDT in cell culture showed that the treated tumor cells, compared with the control cells, had less than 50% 11C-choline activity at 5, 30, and 45 min after PDT, whereas the cell viability test showed that the treated cells were viable longer than 7 h after PDT.
PET with 11C-choline is sensitive for detecting early changes associated with Pc 4-PDT in mouse models of human prostate cancer. Choline PET has the potential to determine whether a PDT-treated tumor responds to treatment within 48 h after therapy.
PMCID: PMC2999358  PMID: 20008981
small-animal PET; choline molecular imaging; photodynamic therapy (PDT); prostate cancer; tumor response
18.  Cerebral Edema Following Photodynamic Therapy Using Endogenous and Exogenous Photosensitizers in Normal Brain 
Lasers in surgery and medicine  2011;43(9):892-900.
Background and Objective
Failure of treatment for high-grade gliomas is usually due to local recurrence at the site of surgical resection indicating that a more aggressive form of local therapy such as photodynamic therapy (PDT) could be of benefit. The increase in brain edema following PDT using endogenous and exogenous photosensitizers was compared in terms of animal survival, MR imaging, and histopathological changes in normal brain.
Materials and Methods
Fischer rats were exposed to increasing laser light treatment following intraperitoneal injection of either the photosensitizers 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) or aluminum phthalocyanine disulfonate (AlPcS2a). Light treatment was applied either via an optical fiber inserted directly into the brain parenchyma or through a fiber applied to the surface of the intact skull. Edema development was followed by T2-weighted MR imaging.
ALA and AlPcS2a PDT resulted in a fluence dependent increase in cerebral edema and mortality. AlPcS2a PDT showed significant edema and mortality even at low fluences following interstitial light delivery, which was reduced with surface illumination. The mechanism of edema was determined to be vasogenic by response to steroid therapy and confirmed on histological images.
T2 and contrast enhanced T1 MRI scanning proved to be a highly effective and noninvasive modality in following the development of the edema reaction and the degree and time course of blood–brain barrier dysfunction thus allowing the use of fewer animals. ALA mediated PDT induced a lower edema reaction than that observed with the photosensitizer AlPcS2a.
PMCID: PMC4124831  PMID: 22006731
photodynamic therapy; PDT; cerebral edema; ALA; AlPcS2a; vasogenic edema; endogenous photosensitizer; exogenous photosensitizer; amino levulenic acid; aluminum phthalocyanine disulfonate
19.  Targeted Therapy of Cancer Using Photodynamic Therapy in Combination with Multi-faceted Anti-Tumor Modalities 
Pharmaceuticals  2010;3(5):1507-1529.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has emerged as one of the important therapeutic options in the management of cancer and other diseases. PDT involves a tumor-localized photosensitizer (PS), which when appropriately illuminated by visible light converts oxygen into cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS), that attack key structural entities within the targeted cells, ultimately resulting in necrosis or apoptosis. Though PDT is a selective modality, it can be further enhanced by combining other targeted therapeutic strategies that include the use of synthetic peptides and nanoparticles for selective delivery of photosensitizers. Another potentially promising strategy is the application of targeted therapeutics that exploit a myriad of critical pathways involved in tumorigenesis and metastasis. Vascular disrupting agents that eradicate tumor vasculature during PDT and anti-angiogenic agents that targets specific molecular pathways and prevent the formation of new blood vessels are novel therapeutic approaches that have been shown to improve treatment outcome. In addition to the well-documented mechanisms of direct cell killing and damage to the tumor vasculature, PDT can also activate the body’s immune response against tumors. Numerous pre-clinical studies and clinical observations have demonstrated the immuno-stimulatory capability of PDT. Herein, we aim to integrate the most important findings with regard to the combination of PDT and other novel targeted therapy approaches, detailing its potential in cancer photomedicine.
PMCID: PMC4033994
photodynamic therapy (PDT); targeted therapy; peptides; nanoparticles; vascular PDT; anti-angiogenesis; immune response
20.  Monitoring photodynamic therapy of head and neck malignancies with optical spectroscopies 
In recent years there has been significant developments in photosensitizers (PSs), light sources and light delivery systems that have allowed decreasing the treatment time and skin phototoxicity resulting in more frequent use of photodynamic therapy (PDT) in the clinical settings. Compared to standard treatment approaches such as chemo-radiation and surgery, PDT has much reduced morbidity for head and neck malignancies and is becoming an alternative treatment option. It can be used as an adjunct therapy to other treatment modalities without any additive cumulative side effects. Surface illumination can be an option for pre-malignant and early-stage malignancies while interstitial treatment is for debulking of thick tumors in the head and neck region. PDT can achieve equivalent or greater efficacy in treating head and neck malignancies, suggesting that it may be considered as a first line therapy in the future. Despite progressive development, clinical PDT needs improvement in several topics for wider acceptance including standardization of protocols that involve the same administrated light and PS doses and establishing quantitative tools for PDT dosimetry planning and response monitoring. Quantitative measures such as optical parameters, PS concentration, tissue oxygenation and blood flow are essential for accurate PDT dosimetry as well as PDT response monitoring and assessing therapy outcome. Unlike conventional imaging modalities like magnetic resonance imaging, novel optical imaging techniques can quantify PDT-related parameters without any contrast agent administration and enable real-time assessment during PDT for providing fast feedback to clinicians. Ongoing developments in optical imaging offer the promise of optimization of PDT protocols with improved outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3845916  PMID: 24303476
Head and neck cancer; Photodynamic therapy; Monitoring and predicting response; Blood flow; Oxygenation; Oxygen metabolism; Diffuse optical imaging
21.  Enhancement of photodynamic therapy by mitomycin C: a preclinical and clinical study. 
British Journal of Cancer  1996;73(8):945-951.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) using Photofrin was used in combination with a hypoxic toxin (mitomycin C, MMC) to treat four patients with recurrent skin metastasis of a mammary carcinoma. In preclinical experiments an additive effect was found for the combination of MMC and PDT for treating subcutaneous RIF1 tumours in mice. When interstitial PDT was combined with a low dose of MMC (administered 15 min before illumination), the Photofrin dose or light dose could be reduced by a factor of 2 in order to obtain equivalent cure rate or growth delay. In the clinical pilot study, a low dose of Photofrin (0.75 mg kg-1) was used for PDT alone (superficial illumination) or combined with low-dose MMC (5 mg m-2). Different tumour areas were illuminated with or without a preceding infusion of MMC. Both tumour response and skin photosensitivity were scored. After 8-12 weeks of treatment, tumour cure could be achieved by administering light doses > or = 150 J cm-2 for PDT alone and similar effects were obtained when light doses of 75-87.5 J cm-2 were given after infusion with MMC. In all cases necrotic tissue of both tumour and surrounding skin was observed, which lasted for a mean of 5 months (range 2-20 months). Skin phototoxicity, tested by using a standardised illumination of skin patches on the back, lasted maximally 3 weeks. Three main conclusions could be drawn from these studies: (1) The enhanced effects of the combination of PDT and MMC observed in mouse tumours can be extrapolated to patients with mammary skin metastasis. (2) The combination of PDT and hypoxic toxins facilitates treatment by permitting lower doses of photosensitiser to be used (thereby reducing skin phototoxicity) or lower light doses (thereby reducing illumination times and allowing the possibility to treat larger tumour areas). (3) Restoration of skin after PDT in previously treated tumour areas (chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery) is very low.
PMCID: PMC2075831  PMID: 8611430
22.  Molecular profiling of angiogenesis in hypericin mediated photodynamic therapy 
Molecular Cancer  2008;7:56.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) involves the administration of a tumor-localizing photosensitizing drug, which is activated by light of specific wavelength in the presence of molecular oxygen thus generating reactive oxygen species that is toxic to the tumor cells. PDT selectively destroys photosensitized tissue leading to various cellular and molecular responses. The present study was designed to examine the angiogenic responses at short (0.5 h) and long (6 h) drug light interval (DLI) hypericin-PDT (HY-PDT) treatment at 24 h and 30 days post treatment in a human bladder carcinoma xenograft model. As short DLI targets tumor vasculature and longer DLI induces greater cellular damage, we hypothesized a differential effect of these treatments on the expression of angiogenic factors.
Immunohistochemistry (IHC) results showed minimal CD31 stained endothelium at 24 h post short DLI PDT indicating extensive vascular damage. Angiogenic proteins such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), tumor necrosis growth factor-α (TNF-α), interferon-α (IFN-α) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) were expressed to a greater extent in cellular targeting long DLI PDT compared to vascular mediated short DLI PDT. Gene expression profiling for angiogenesis pathway demonstrated downregulation of adhesion molecules – cadherin 5, collagen alpha 1 and 3 at 24 h post treatment. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and Ephrin-A3 (EFNA3) were upregulated in all treatment groups suggesting a possible activation of c-Met and Ephrin-Eph signaling pathways.
In conclusion, long DLI HY-PDT induces upregulation of angiogenic proteins. Differential expression of genes involved in the angiogenesis pathway was observed in the various groups treated with HY-PDT.
PMCID: PMC2440549  PMID: 18549507
23.  Chlorin e6 – polyvinylpyrrolidone mediated photosensitization is effective against human non-small cell lung carcinoma compared to small cell lung carcinoma xenografts 
BMC Pharmacology  2007;7:15.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an effective local cancer treatment that involves light activation of a photosensitizer, resulting in oxygen-dependent, free radical-mediated cell death. Little is known about the comparative efficacy of PDT in treating non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) and small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC), despite ongoing clinical trials treating lung cancers. The present study evaluated the potential use of chlorin e6 – polyvinylpyrrolidone (Ce6-PVP) as a multimodality photosensitizer for fluorescence detection and photodynamic therapy (PDT) on NSCLC and SCLC xenografts.
Human NSCLC (NCI-H460) and SCLC (NCI-H526) tumor cell lines were used to establish tumor xenografts in the chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) model as well as in the Balb/c nude mice. In the CAM model, Ce6-PVP was applied topically (1.0 mg/kg) and fluorescence intensity was charted at various time points. Tumor-bearing mice were given intravenous administration of Ce6-PVP (2.0 mg/kg) and laser irradiation at 665 nm (fluence of 150 J/cm2 and fluence rate of 125 mW/cm2). Tumor response was evaluated at 48 h post PDT. Studies of temporal fluorescence pharmacokinetics in CAM tumor xenografts showed that Ce6-PVP has a selective localization and a good accuracy in demarcating NSCLC compared to SCLC from normal surrounding CAM after 3 h post drug administration. Irradiation at 3 h drug-light interval showed greater tumor necrosis against human NSCLC xenografts in nude mice. SCLC xenografts were observed to express resistance to photosensitization with Ce6-PVP.
The formulation of Ce6-PVP is distinctly advantageous as a diagnostic and therapeutic agent for fluorescence diagnosis and PDT of NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC2212622  PMID: 18053148
24.  The Effects of Ultra Low Fluence Rate Single and Repetitive Photodynamic Therapy on Glioma Spheroids 
Lasers in surgery and medicine  2009;41(8):578-584.
Background and Objective
Achieving local control of gliomas with photodynamic therapy (PDT) requires the delivery of adequate light fluences to depths of 1–2 cm in the resection margin where the majority of local recurrences originate. This is clinically impractical with current single-shot, intraoperative PDT treatments due to the length of time required to deliver adequate fluences. Multiple or extended treatment protocols would therefore seem to be required. The response of human glioma spheroids to 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA)-mediated PDT using single or, repetitive light delivery protocols was investigated at both low and ultra low fluence rates.
Study Design/Materials and Methods
Human glioma spheroids (400 μm diameter) were subjected to sub-threshold light fluence (1.5, 3, or 6 J cm−2) ALA–PDT consisting of four light delivery schemes: single treatment given over either 1 or 24 hours, repetitive treatment given either as four 1 hour light treatments separated by a 4 day interval, or 24 hours light delivery, consisting of four 24 hours treatments separated by a 3 day interval. Treatment efficacy was evaluated using a growth assay. In some cases, confocal microscopy was used to image cell viability.
The repetitive and single light treatment protocols were most effective when delivered at ultra low (μW cm−2) fluence rates. In all cases, growth inhibition was light dose-dependent. The repetitive ultra low fluence rate treatment (1.5 J cm−2; irradiance = 17 μW cm−2) light delivery protocol was the most effective resulting in total growth inhibition during the 2-week observation period.
Ultra low light fluence rate ALA–PDT results in significant spheroid growth inhibition. Repeated administration of ALA was required during repetitive and/or protracted single PDT treatment protocols. The existence of a lower fluence rate limit, below which the efficacy of threshold light fluences diminish was not found in these studies.
PMCID: PMC4153363  PMID: 19731298
photodynamic therapy; 5-aminolevulinic acid; human glioma spheroids; fluence; fluence rate; repetitive PDT; chronic PDT; malignant glioma
25.  Photodynamic Therapy of Disseminated Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma in a Murine Model 
Lasers in surgery and medicine  2011;43(7):663-675.
Background and Objective
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) of thoracic malignancies involving the pleural surfaces is an active area of clinical investigation. The present report aims to characterize a model for PDT of disseminated non-small cell lung carcinoma grown orthotopically in nude mice, and to evaluate PDT effect on tumor and normal tissues.
Study Design
H460 human non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) cells were injected percutaneously into the thoracic cavity of nude mice. HPPH-PDT (1 mg/kg, 24 h) was performed via the interstitial delivery (150 mW/cm) of 661 nm light to the thoracic cavity at fluences of 25-200 J/cm.
H460 tumors exhibited exponential growth within the thoracic cavity consisting of diffuse, gross nodular disease within 9 days after intrathoracic injection. Tumor volume, measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), was highly correlated with the aggregate tumor mass extracted from the corresponding animal. Intrathoracic PDT at fluences of ≥ 50 J/cm produced significant decreases in tumor burden as compared to untreated controls, however mortality increased with rising fluence. Accordingly, 50 J/cm was selected for MRI studies to measure intra-animal PDT effects. Tumor distribution favored the ventral (vs. dorsal), caudal (vs. cranial), and right (vs. left) sides of the thoracic cavity by MRI; PDT did not change this spatial pattern despite an overall effect on tumor burden. Histopathology revealed edema and fibrin deposition within the pulmonary interstitium and alveoli of the PDT-treated thoracic cavity, as well as occasional evidence of vascular disruption. Prominent neutrophil infiltration with a concomitant decline in the lymphocyte compartment was also noted in the lung parenchyma within 24 hours after PDT.
HPPH-PDT of an orthotopic model of disseminated NSCLC is both feasible and effective using intracavitary light delivery. We establish this animal model, together with the treatment and monitoring approaches, as novel and valuable methods for the pre-clinical investigation of intrathoracic PDT of disseminated pleural malignancies.
PMCID: PMC3676899  PMID: 22057494
HPPH; Photochlor®; 2-[1-hexyloxyethyl]-2-devinyl pyropheophorbide-a; interstitial illumination; magnetic resonance imaging; non-small cell lung carcinoma; photodynamic therapy; pleural malignancy

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