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J Photochem Photobiol B. 2012 Apr 2;109:42-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2012.01.004. Epub 2012 Jan 28.

The effects of combined treatment with ionizing radiation and indocyanine green-mediated photodynamic therapy on breast cancer cells.

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Department of Medical Physics, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


This study was undertaken to evaluate the effects of indocyanine green as a sensitizer in both photodynamic and radiation therapy on MCF-7 human breast cancer cells line. The cells were incubated with indocyanine green at different concentrations for 24h and were then exposed in the independent treatment groups to a non-coherent light at different fluence rates and X-ray ionizing radiation at different dose rates. In addition, combination effects of this chemo, photo, and radiotherapy were evaluated. The percentage of the cell survival was investigated using the MTT assay. The results showed that indocyanine green had no significant cytotoxic effects up to 100 μM but as a photosensitizer had a strong cytotoxic effect on cancer cells. Despite, indocyanine green could not act as a radiosensitizer. Furthermore, it is surprising to find that 50 μM of indocyanine green in combination with light at 60 J/cm(2) and 4 Gy of X-ray radiation astonishingly killed cancer cells and reduced the percentage of viable cancer cells to be 3.42%. According to the findings, we observed the same efficacy of treatment by adding a low dose of radiation and reducing light fluence rate. In fact, it appears from our data that the adverse effects of photodynamic therapy can be partially abated without reducing the efficacy of treatment. Obviously, this new therapeutic avenue in breast cancer therapy could be worth further investigation and elucidation and should be tested in vivo models for being applied in human therapy.

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