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Br J Cancer. 1998 May;77(9):1386-94.

Reduction of tumour oxygenation during and after photodynamic therapy in vivo: effects of fluence rate.

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Department of Radiation Biology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA.


It has been proposed that the generation of O2 during photodynamic therapy (PDT) may lead to photochemical depletion of ambient tumour oxygen, thus causing acute hypoxia and limiting treatment effectiveness. We have studied the effects of fluence rate on pO2, in the murine RIF tumour during and after PDT using 5 mg kg(-1) Photofrin and fluence rates of 30, 75 or 150 mW cm(-2). Median pO2 before PDT ranged from 2.9 to 5.2 mmHg in three treatment groups. Within the first minute of illumination, median tumour pO2 decreased with all fluence rates to values between 0.7 and 1.1 mmHg. These effects were rapidly and completely reversible if illumination was interrupted. During prolonged illumination (20-50 J cm(-2)) pO2 recovered at the 30 mW cm(-2) fluence rate to a median value of 7.4 mmHg, but remained low at the 150 mW cm(-2) fluence rate (median pO2 1.7 mmHg). Fluence rate effects were not found after PDT, and at both 30 and 150 mW cm(-2) median tumour pO2 fell from control levels to 1.0-1.8 mmHg within 1-3 h after treatment conclusion. PDT with 100 J cm(-2) at 30 mW cm(-2) caused significantly (P = 0.0004) longer median tumour regrowth times than PDT at 150 mW cm(-2), indicating that lower fluence rate can improve PDT response. Vascular perfusion studies uncovered significant fluence rate-dependent differences in the responses of the normal and tumour vasculature. These data establish a direct relationship between tumour pO2, the fluence rate applied during PDT and treatment outcome. The findings are of immediate clinical relevance.

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