Chlorin-based photosensitizers are commonly used in photodynamic therapy (PDT). These drugs are effluxed by cell-membrane transporters, such as the ATP-binding cassette subfamily G member 2 (ABCG2). PDT efficacy is limited in tumor cells expressing high levels of these proteins. Pancreatic cancer cell lines AsPC-1 and MIA PaCa-2, which have high and low ABCG2 expression, respectively, were used and ABCG2-overexpressing MIA PaCa-2 cells were generated. We compared PDT efficacy between Chlorin e6 (Ce6) and cationic photosensitizer-encapsulated polymeric nanoparticle (PS-pNP) which is comprised with Ce6, polyethylene glycol and polyethylenimine. The intracellular concentration of Ce6 was significantly higher in MIA PaCa-2 cells than in AsPC-1 or ABCG2-overexpressing MIA PaCa-2 cells. PS-pNP increased intracellular levels of the photosensitizer in all cell lines. The cell viability experiments indicated increased Ce6 resistance in ABCG2-overexpressing cells. In contrast, PS-pNP produced similar levels of cytotoxicity in each of the cancer cell lines tested. Singlet oxygen production was higher in cells treated with PS- pNP than in those treated with Ce6. Furthermore, in heterotopic and orthotopic AsPC-1-xenograft mouse models, PDT using PS-pNP significantly reduced tumor volume in comparison to that of Ce6 treatment. PS-pNP could increase intracellular Ce6 concentration, which were related with reduced ABCG2-mediated efflux of Ce6, thereby enhancing the effects of PDT in pancreatic cancer cells.
- Received September 27, 2016.
- Revision received April 4, 2017.
- Accepted April 5, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.