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Photochem Photobiol. 1998 May;67(5):573-83.

Biodistribution of Photofrin II and 5-aminolevulinic acid-induced protoporphyrin IX in normal rat bladder and bladder tumor models: implications for photodynamic therapy.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been considered as a potential therapy for superficial bladder carcinomas. Cutaneous photosensitivity and reduction of bladder capacity are the two well-known complications following systemic administration of the commonly used photosensitizer, Photofrin II (PII). The objective of the present study was to evaluate whether intravesical (i.b.) instillation of photosensitizers for PDT of bladder cancer might be a more suitable treatment method. Female Fischer rats were utilized to develop orthotopic and heterotopic bladder tumor models. Rats bearing orthotopic bladder tumors were treated either intravesically or intravenously with graded doses of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) or PII. Normal rats received the same doses of ALA or PII. As well, rats bearing heterotopic tumor were studied for comparison. The biodistribution times (times allowed for tissue uptake and bioconversion following drug administration) were 2, 4 or 6 h. Porphyrin fluorescence intensities within tumor, urothelium, submucosa, bladder muscularis and abdominal muscle were quantitated by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Following intravenous (i.v.) injection of ALA, tumor protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) levels peaked at 4 h and diminished by 6 h. The PpIX ratios of tumor-to-bladder mucosa, submucosa and muscle layers were 3:1, 5:1 and 8:1, respectively, 4 h following 1000 mg/kg ALA injection. After ALA instillation, the optimal biodistribution time appeared to be 4 h. Bladder instillation provided comparable tumor labeling with the i.v. route, but lost selectivity of PpIX accumulation between tumor and normal urothelium. The PpIX ratio of tumor-to-bladder muscularis was 5:1. After i.b. instillation of PII, porphyrin fluorescence was detected only within tumor and urothelium, while porphyrin fluorescence was mainly located in bladder submucosa following i.v. injection. Intravesical administration of ALA or PII might be feasible for PDT of superficial bladder cancers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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