X-ray induced photodynamic therapy: A combination of radiotherapy and photodynamic therapy

Geoffrey D. Wang, Ha T. Nguyen, Hongmin Chen, Phillip B. Cox, Lianchun Wang, Koichi Nagata, Zhonglin Hao, Andrew Wang, Zibo Li, Jin Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


Conventional photodynamic therapy (PDT)'s clinical application is limited by depth of penetration by light. To address the issue, we have recently developed X-ray induced photodynamic therapy (X-PDT) which utilizes X-ray as an energy source to activate a PDT process. In addition to breaking the shallow tissue penetration dogma, our studies found more efficient tumor cell killing with X-PDT than with radiotherapy (RT) alone. The mechanisms behind the cytotoxicity, however, have not been elucidated. In the present study, we investigate the mechanisms of action of X-PDT on cancer cells. Our results demonstrate that X-PDT is more than just a PDT derivative but is essentially a PDT and RT combination. The two modalities target different cellular components (cell membrane and DNA, respectively), leading to enhanced therapy effects. As a result, X-PDT not only reduces short-term viability of cancer cells but also their clonogenecity in the long-run. From this perspective, X-PDT can also be viewed as a unique radiosensitizing method, and as such it affords clear advantages over RT in tumor therapy, especially for radioresistant cells. This is demonstrated not only in vitro but also in vivo with H1299 tumors that were either subcutaneously inoculated or implanted into the lung of mice. These findings and advances are of great importance to the developments of X-PDT as a novel treatment modality against cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2295-2305
Number of pages11
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Clonogenecity
  • Lung cancer
  • Nanoparticles
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)


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