Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. Conventional photodynamic therapy (PDT) using a nontargeted photosensitizer (ntPDT) is a treatment option for central- and peripheral-type early-stage lung cancer. However, ntPDT can cause severe side effects for normal tissue due to its non-selective distribution. To improve the selectivity and effectiveness of ntPDT for human lung cancer, we hypothesized that tissue factor would be a common yet specific biomarker and a potential therapeutic target for both lung cancer cells and lung tumor vascular endothelial cells in factor VII-targeted PDT (fVII-tPDT), which uses the fVII-Sn(IV) chlorin e6 conjugate for the treatment of human lung cancer. We first identified that tissue factor is indeed expressed on the human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) lines A549 and H460 as well as on tumor vascular endothelial cells of A549 tumor xenografts from nude mice, but it is not expressed by vascular endothelial cells in healthy mouse organs including the lungs. We then demonstrated that fVII-targeting in fVII-tPDT significantly enhanced (up to 25-fold) the in vitro effect of ntPDT on the destruction of A549 and H460 lung cancer cells via the rapid induction of apoptosis and necrosis. We further demonstrated that in vivo administration of fVIItPDT significantly inhibited or eliminated subcutaneous A549 and H460 tumor xenografts in an athymic nude (ATN) mouse model without any obvious side effects. We conclude that fVII-tPDT is effective and safe for the treatment of human lung cancer in preclinical studies and that this methodology holds therapeutic potential for lung cancer patients.
Keywords: Dual neovascular- and cancer cell-targeting photodynamic therapy, Factor VII, ligand-targeted photodynamic therapy, lung cancer, tissue factor, polyhistidine tag, nuclear localization sequence, non-small cell lung cancer, R-Phycoerythrin, S peptide, vascular endothelial cells, wet form macular degeneration
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