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Photochem Photobiol. 2001 Nov;74(5):700-6.

Analysis of the heterogeneity of pO2 dynamics during photodynamic therapy with verteporfin.

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  • 1Thayer School of Engineering, 8000 Cummings Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) with verteporfin provides a reliable way to destroy malignant tissues. Changes in the blood flow and oxygen partial pressure (pO2) during verteporfin-PDT were studied here in the tumor tissue of the rat mammary R3230Ac carcinoma model. Oxygen microelectrodes (6-12 microns tip diameter) were used to measure the transients locally within tumors during intravenous injection of 1.0 mg/kg verteporfin followed by irradiation 15 min later with 690 nm light at 200 mW/cm2, for a cumulative dose of 144 J/cm2. The observed changes in pO2 were heterogeneous and there was a difference in the response of low-pO2 regions relative to higher-pO2 regions. The change in pO2 in hypoxic tissue regions (pO2 < 8 mmHg) had acute pO2 loss after treatment, whereas the response in regions of higher pO2 (> 8 mm Hg) was more heterogeneous with some areas maintaining their pO2 value after treatment was completed. Blood flow measurements taken on a subset of the animals indicated a significant loss in flow during the initial light delivery that remained low after treatment, indicating some vascular stasis. The results suggest that hypoxic or poorly perfused vessels may be more susceptible to acute stasis than normoxic vessels in this treatment protocol.

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