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      Oncologic Photodynamic Therapy: Basic Principles, Current Clinical Status and Future Directions


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          Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a clinically approved cancer therapy, based on a photochemical reaction between a light activatable molecule or photosensitizer, light, and molecular oxygen. When these three harmless components are present together, reactive oxygen species are formed. These can directly damage cells and/or vasculature, and induce inflammatory and immune responses. PDT is a two-stage procedure, which starts with photosensitizer administration followed by a locally directed light exposure, with the aim of confined tumor destruction. Since its regulatory approval, over 30 years ago, PDT has been the subject of numerous studies and has proven to be an effective form of cancer therapy. This review provides an overview of the clinical trials conducted over the last 10 years, illustrating how PDT is applied in the clinic today. Furthermore, examples from ongoing clinical trials and the most recent preclinical studies are presented, to show the directions, in which PDT is headed, in the near and distant future. Despite the clinical success reported, PDT is still currently underutilized in the clinic. We also discuss the factors that hamper the exploration of this effective therapy and what should be changed to render it a more effective and more widely available option for patients.

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          Most cited references314

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          Photodynamic therapy and anti-tumour immunity.

          Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses non-toxic photosensitizers and harmless visible light in combination with oxygen to produce cytotoxic reactive oxygen species that kill malignant cells by apoptosis and/or necrosis, shut down the tumour microvasculature and stimulate the host immune system. In contrast to surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy that are mostly immunosuppressive, PDT causes acute inflammation, expression of heat-shock proteins, invasion and infiltration of the tumour by leukocytes, and might increase the presentation of tumour-derived antigens to T cells.
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            Head and neck cancer.

            Most head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas that develop in the upper aerodigestive epithelium after exposure to carcinogens such as tobacco and alcohol. Human papillomavirus has also been strongly implicated as a causative agent in a subset of these cancers. The complex anatomy and vital physiological role of the tumour-involved structures dictate that the goals of treatment are not only to improve survival outcomes but also to preserve organ function. Major improvements have been accomplished in surgical techniques and radiotherapy delivery. Moreover, systemic therapy including chemotherapy and molecularly targeted agents--namely, the epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors--has been successfully integrated into potentially curative treatment of locally advanced squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck. In deciding which treatment strategy would be suitable for an individual patient, important considerations include expected functional outcomes, ability to tolerate treatment, and comorbid illnesses. The collaboration of many specialties is the key for optimum assessment and decision making. We review the epidemiology, molecular pathogenesis, diagnosis and staging, and the latest multimodal management of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
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              Cancer Cell-Selective In Vivo Near Infrared Photoimmunotherapy Targeting Specific Membrane Molecules

              Three major modes of cancer therapies, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, have been the mainstay of modern oncologic therapy. To minimize side effects, molecular targeted cancer therapies including armed antibody therapy have been developed with limited success. In this study, we developed a new type of molecular targeted cancer therapy, photoimmunotherapy (PIT), employing a target-specific photosensitizer based on a near infrared (NIR) phthalocyanine dye, IR700, conjugated to monoclonal antibodies (MAb) targeting epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR). Cell death was induced immediately only upon irradiating, MAb-IR700 bound, target cells with NIR light. In vivo tumor shrinkage after irradiation with NIR light was observed only in target EGFR-expressing cells. The MAb-IR700 conjugates were most effective when bound to the cell membrane, producing no phototoxicity when not bound, suggesting a different mechanism for PIT compared with conventional photodynamic therapies. Target selective PIT enables treatment of cancer based on MAb binding on the cell membrane.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                Cancers (Basel)
                Cancers (Basel)
                18 February 2017
                February 2017
                : 9
                : 2
                [1 ]Cell Biology, Department of Biology, Science Faculty, Utrecht University, Utrecht 3584 CH, The Netherlands; demianvanstraten@ 123456gmail.com (D.v.S.); v.mashayekhi@ 123456uu.nl (V.M.); s.oliveira@ 123456uu.nl (S.O.)
                [2 ]Center for Optical Diagnostics and Therapy, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Erasmus Medical Center, Postbox 204, Rotterdam 3000 CA, The Netherlands; h.debruijn@ 123456erasmusmc.nl
                [3 ]Pharmaceutics, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Science Faculty, Utrecht University, Utrecht 3584 CG, The Netherlands
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: d.robinson@ 123456erasmusmc.nl ; Tel.: +31-107-0463-2132
                © 2017 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 16 December 2016
                : 12 February 2017

                photodynamic therapy,clinical trials,cancer,treatment outcome,preclinical,future


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