Anti-tumor immunity generated by photodynamic therapy in a metastatic murine tumor model

Ana P. Castano, Michael R. Hamblin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a modality for the treatment of cancer involving excitation of photosensitizers with harmless visible light producing reactive oxygen species. The major biological effects of PDT are apoptosis of tumor cells, destruction of the blood supply and activation of the immune system. The objective of this study is to compare in an animal model of metastatic cancer, PDT alone and PDT combined with low-dose cyclophosphamide (CY). Since the tumor we used is highly metastatic, it is necessary to generate anti-tumor immunity using PDT to both cure the primary tumor and prevent death from metastasis. This immunity may be potentiated by low dose CY. In our model we used J774 cells (a Balb/c reticulum cell sarcoma line with the characteristics of macrophages) and the following PDT regimen: benzoporphyrin derivative monoacid ring A (BPD, 2mg/kg injected IV followed after 15 min by 150 J/cm 2 of 690-nm light). CY (50 mg/kg i.p.) was injected 48 hours before light delivery. BPD-PDT led to complete regression of the primary tumor in more than half the mice but no permanent cures were obtained. BPD-PDT in combination with CY led to 60% permanent cures. CY alone gave no permanent cures but did provide a survival advantage. To probe permanent immunity cured animals were rechallenged with the same tumor cell line and the tumors were rejected in 71% of mice cured with BPD-PDT plus CY. We conclude that BPD-PDT in combination with CY gives best overall results and that this is attributable to immunological response - activation in addition to PDT-mediated destruction of the tumor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number02
Pages (from-to)7-16
Number of pages10
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical Interactions with Tissue and Cells XVI - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 24 Jan 200526 Jan 2005


  • Antitumor immunity
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Photosensitizer
  • Regulatory t cells (CD25 CD4 )

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging


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