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Photomed Laser Surg. 2016 Jun;34(6):229-35. doi: 10.1089/pho.2015.3968. Epub 2016 Apr 14.

Low-Level Laser Therapy Promoted Aggressive Proliferation and Angiogenesis Through Decreasing of Transforming Growth Factor-β1 and Increasing of Akt/Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1α in Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer.

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1 Beckman Laser Institute Korea, Dankook University , Cheonan, Chungnam, Republic of Korea.
2 Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, College of Medicine, Dankook University , Cheonan, Republic of Korea.
3 Department of Medical Laser, Graduate School, Dankook University, Cheonan, Republic of Korea.
4 Medical Laser Research Center, Dankook University , Cheoan, Republic of Korea.
5 Department of Biomedical Science, College of Medicine, Dankook University , Cheonan, Republic of Korea.



We assessed the cause of increased tumor after low-level laser therapy (LLLT) by histological analysis.


LLLT is a nonthermal phototherapy used in several medical applications, including wound healing, reduction of pain, and amelioration of oral mucositis. We discovered by accident that LLLT increased tumor size while testing a photodynamic therapy (PDT) model for the treatment of thyroid cancer. Although therapeutic effects of LLLT on cancer or dysplastic cells have been studied, LLLT has been recently reported to stimulate the aggressiveness of the tumor.


The anaplastic thyroid cancer cell line FRO was injected into thyroid glands of nude mice orthotopically and then laser irradiation was performed with 0, 15, and 30 J/cm(2) (100 mW/cm(2)) on the thyroid after 10 days. The tumor volume was measured for 4 weeks and the thyroid tissues underwent histological analysis. We observed that proliferation of FRO cells and macrophage infiltration was increased with energy delivery to the thyroid glands. We also assessed overproliferated FRO cells using an immunohistochemical staining with hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α), p-Akt, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1).


HIF-1α and p-Akt were elevated after LLLT, which suggested that the phosphorylation of Akt by LLLT led to the activation of HIF-1α. Moreover, TGF-β1 expression was decreased after LLLT, which led to loss of cell cycle regulation.


In conclusion, LLLT led to a decrease in TGF-β1 and increase of p-Akt/HIF-1α which resulted to overproliferation and angiogenesis of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC). Therefore, we suggest that LLLT can influence cancer aggressiveness associated with TGF-β1 and Akt/HIF-1α cascades in some poorly differentiated head and neck cancers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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