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Int J Oncol. 2002 Nov;21(5):1003-7.

Macro-microscopic fluorescence imaging of human NPC xenografts in a murine model using topical vs intravenous administration of 5-aminolevulinic acid.

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  • 1Division of Medical Sciences, National Cancer Centre, 11 Hospital Drive, Singapore 169610.


The use of 5-aminolevulinic acid to induce endogenous porphyrins for the purpose of detection of epithelial cancers is being studied extensively in many centres around the world. The challenge is to prepare an efficacious formulation of 5-ALA for the purpose of cancer detection. In this study, we compared two formulations of topical 5-ALA applications with intravenous administration in NPC/CNE-2 xenografts on balb/c nude mice. One of the formulations was a gantrez muco-adhesive patch and the other was a polyvinyl-pyrolidone muco-adhesive patch. The Karl Storz fluorescence endoscopy system was used to obtain macroscopic fluorescence images. Microscopic fluorescence imaging was done by laser confocal microscopy. The macroscopic images were further analysed for fluorescence intensity distribution. It was found that between the two formulations of topical application of 5-ALA; there was very little difference in the fluorescence biodistribution. When the topical applications were compared with the intravenous administration, the tumour to normal differential in biodistribution was significantly higher with the topical application compared to the intravenous application.

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