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Br J Cancer. 2011 Apr 26;104(9):1401-9. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.88. Epub 2011 Mar 22.

Effective treatment of chemoresistant breast cancer in vitro and in vivo by a factor VII-targeted photodynamic therapy.

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Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Yale University School of Medicine, 310 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.



The purpose of this study was to test a novel, dual tumour vascular endothelial cell (VEC)- and tumour cell-targeting factor VII-targeted Sn(IV) chlorin e6 photodynamic therapy (fVII-tPDT) by targeting a receptor tissue factor (TF) as an alternative treatment for chemoresistant breast cancer using a multidrug resistant (MDR) breast cancer line MCF-7/MDR.


The TF expression by the MCF-7/MDR breast cancer cells and tumour VECs in MCF-7/MDR tumours from mice was determined separately by flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry using anti-human or anti-murine TF antibodies. The efficacy of fVII-tPDT was tested in vitro and in vivo and was compared with non-targeted PDT for treatment of chemoresistant breast cancer. The in vitro efficacy was determined by a non-clonogenic assay using crystal violet staining for monolayers, and apoptosis and necrosis were assayed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. The in vivo efficacy of fVII-tPDT was determined in a nude mouse model of subcutaneous MCF-7/MDR tumour xenograft by measuring tumour volume.


To our knowledge, this is the first presentation showing that TF was expressed on tumour VECs in chemoresistant breast tumours from mice. The in vitro efficacy of fVII-tPDT was 12-fold stronger than that of ntPDT for MCF-7/MDR cancer cells, and the mechanism of action involved induction of apoptosis and necrosis. Moreover, fVII-tPDT was effective and safe for the treatment of chemoresistant breast tumours in the nude mouse model.


We conclude that fVII-tPDT is effective and safe for the treatment of chemoresistant breast cancer, presumably by simultaneously targeting both the tumour neovasculature and chemoresistant cancer cells. Thus, this dual-targeting fVII-tPDT could also have therapeutic potential for the treatment of other chemoresistant cancers.

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