Response of MCF-7 breast cancer cells overexpressed with P-glycoprotein to apoptotic induction after photodynamic therapy

Eric Chekwube Aniogo, Blassan P. George, Heidi Abrahamse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Multidrug resistance (MDR) has posed a significant threat to cancer treatment and has led to the emergence of a new therapeutic regime of photodynamic therapy (PDT) to curb the menace. The PDT modality employs a photosensitiser (PS), excited at a specific wavelength of light to kill cancer cells. In the present study, we used a zinc phthalocyanine tetrasulfonic acid PS to mediate the photodynamic killing of MCF-7 cells overexpressed with P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and investigate the response to cell death induction. After photodynamic treatment, MCF-7 cells undergo cell death, and indicators like Annexin V/PI staining, DNA fragmentation, and measurement of apoptotic protein expression were investigated. Results showed increased externalisation of phosphatidylserine protein, measured as a percentage in flow cytometry indicative of apoptotic induction. This expression was significant (p < 0.006) for the untreated control cells, and there was no detection of DNA fragments after a laser fluence of 20 J/cm2. In addition, a statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) was seen in caspase 8 activity and Bax protein expression. These findings were indicative of apoptotic induction and thus seem to represent the extrinsic apoptotic pathway. This study shows the role of PDT in the treatment of a resistant phenotype breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7412
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Apoptosis
  • Multidrug resistance
  • P-glycoprotein
  • Photodynamic therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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