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Neoplasia. 2008 May;10(5):429-38.

In vivo confocal fluorescence imaging of the intratumor distribution of the photosensitizer mono-L-aspartylchlorin-e6.

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  • 1Department of Imaging Sciences, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


We present an in vivo fluorescence microscopic evaluation of intratumor distribution of the photosensitizer mono-L-aspartylchlorin-e6 (NPe6) in an intradermal mouse EMT6 tumor model. Although the identification of favorable photophysical and pharmacological properties has led to the development of new photosensitizers in photodynamic therapy, their intratumor distribution kinetics have remained relatively understudied. In this study, we used confocal fluorescence microscopy to follow the transport of NPe6 in vivo after systemic administration through the tail vein. Labeling of vasculature using fluorophore-conjugated anti-CD31 antibodies allows visualization of the uptake of NPe6 in tumor and normal vessels and its partitioning kinetics into the adjacent parenchyma for 3 hours after injection. During the initial 60 minutes after injection, the drug is predominantly confined to the vasculature. Subsequently, it significantly redistributes throughout the extravascular regions with no discernable difference in its extravasation rate between tumor and normal tissues. Further, we investigate the sensitizer's altered intratumor distribution in response to photodynamic therapy irradiation and observe that treatment-induced changes in vessel permeability caused enhanced accumulation of NPe6 in the extravascular space. Our findings are of immediate clinical relevance and demonstrate the importance of an in vivo imaging approach to examine the dynamic process of intratumor drug distribution.

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