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PLoS One. 2019 May 13;14(5):e0216503. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216503. eCollection 2019.

ABCG2 expression is related to low 5-ALA photodynamic diagnosis (PDD) efficacy and cancer stem cell phenotype, and suppression of ABCG2 improves the efficacy of PDD.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.
2
Department of Gastroenterological Surgery II, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.
3
Graduate School of Photonic Science, Chitose Institute for Science and Technology, Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan.

Abstract

Photodynamic diagnosis/therapy (PDD/PDT) are novel modalities for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The photosensitizer protoporphyrin IX is metabolized from 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) intracellularly, and PDD/PDT using 5-ALA have been approved in dermatologic malignancies and gliomas. However, the molecular mechanism that defines the efficacy of PDD/PDT is unknown. In this study, we analyzed the functions of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters in PDD using 5-ALA. Most of the human gastrointestinal cancer line cells examined showed a homogenous staining pattern with 5-ALA, except for the pancreatic cancer line PANC-1, which showed heterogeneous staining. To analyze this heterogeneous staining pattern, single cell clones were established from PANC-1 cells and the expression of ABC transporters was assessed. Among the ABC transporter genes examined, ABCG2 showed an inverse correlation with the rate of 5-ALA-positive staining. PANC-1 clone #2 cells showed the highest level of ABCG2 expression and the lowest level of 5-ALA staining, with only a 0.6% positive rate. Knockdown of the ABCG2 gene by small interfering RNAs increased the positive rate of 5-ALA staining in PANC-1 wild-type and clone cells. Interestingly, PANC-1 clone #2 cells showed the high sphere-forming ability and tumor-formation ability, indicating that the cells contained high numbers of cancer stem cells (CSCs). Knockdown or inhibition of ABCG2 increased the rate of 5-ALA staining, but did not decrease sphere-forming ability. These results indicate that gastrointestinal cancer cell lines expressing high levels of ABCG2 are enriched with CSCs and show low rates of 5-ALA staining, but 5-ALA staining rates can be improved by inhibition of ABCG2.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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