Photodynamic Therapy for Metastatic Melanoma Treatment: A Review

Channay Naidoo, Cherie Ann Kruger, Heidi Abrahamse

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This review article is based on specifically targeted nanoparticles that have been used in the treatment of melanoma. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, within 2017 an estimated 9730 people will die due to invasive melanoma. Conventional treatments for nonmalignant melanoma include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. For the treatment of metastatic melanoma, 3 therapeutic agents have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration: dacarbazine, recombinant interferon α-2b, and high-dose interleukin 2. Photodynamic therapy is an alternative therapy that activates a photosensitizer at a specific wavelength forming reactive oxygen species which in turn induces cell death; it is noninvasive with far less side effects when compared to conventional treatments. Nanoparticles are generally conjugated to photosynthetic drugs, since they are biocompatible, stabile, and durable, as well as have a high loading capacity, which improve either passive or active photosensitizer drug delivery to targeted cells. Therefore, various photosynthetic drugs and nanoparticle drug delivery systems specifically targeted for melanoma were analyzed in this review article in relation to either their passive or their active cellular uptake mechanisms in order to deduce the efficacy of photodynamic therapy treatment for metastatic melanoma which currently remains ongoing. The overall findings from this review concluded that no current photodynamic therapy studies have been performed in relation to active nanoparticle platform photosensitizer drug carrier systems for the treatment of metastatic melanoma, and so this type of research requires further investigation into developing a more efficient active nano-photosensitizer carrier smart drug that can be conjugated to specific cell surface receptors and combinative monoclonal antibodies so that a further enhanced and more efficient form of targeted photodynamic therapy for the treatment of metastatic melanoma can be established.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1533033818791795
JournalTechnology in Cancer Research and Treatment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • malignant melanoma
  • nanoparticles
  • passive or active targeting
  • photodynamic therapy (PDT)
  • photosensitizers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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