Photodynamic dose does not correlate with long-term tumor response to mTHPC-PDT performed at several drug-light intervals

Ken Kang Hsin Wang, Soumya Mitra, Thomas H. Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Meso-tetra-hydroxyphenyl-chlorin (mTHPC, Foscan®), a promising photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy (PDT), is approved in Europe for the palliative treatment of head and neck cancer. Based on work in mice that investigated optimal tumor accumulation, clinical protocols with Foscan® typically employ an interval of 96 h between systemic sensitizer administration and irradiation. However, recent studies in mouse tumor models have demonstrated significantly improved long-term tumor response when irradiation is performed at shorter drug-light intervals of 3 and 6 h. Using a previously published theoretical model of microscopic PDT dosimetry and informed by experimentally determined photophysical properties and intratumor sensitizer concentrations and distributions, we calculated photodynamic dose depositions following mTHPC-PDT for drug-light intervals of 3, 6, 24, and 96 h. Our results demonstrate that the singlet oxygen dose to the tumor volume does not track even qualitatively with tumor responses for these four drug-light intervals. Further, microscopic analysis of simulated singlet oxygen deposition shows that in no case do any subpopulations of tumor cells receive a threshold dose. Indeed, under the conditions of these simulations more than 90% of the tumor volume receives a dose that is approximately 20-fold lower than the threshold dose for mTHPC. Thus, in this evaluation of mTHPC-PDT at various drug-light intervals, any PDT dose metric that is proportional to singlet oxygen creation and/or deposition would fail to predict the tumor response. In situations like this one, other reporters of biological response to therapy would be necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3518-3526
Number of pages9
JournalMedical physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Dosimetry
  • Numerical simulation
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • mTHPC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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