Modes of cell death induced by photodynamic therapy using zinc phthalocyanine in lung cancer cells grown as a monolayer and three-dimensional multicellular spheroids.

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) involves interaction of a photosensitizer, light, and molecular oxygen which produces singlet oxygen and subsequent tumour eradication. The development of second generation photosensitizers, such as phthalocyanines, has improved this technology. Customary monolayer cell culture techniques are, unfortunately, too simple to replicate treatment effects in vivo. Multicellular tumour spheroids may provide a better alternative since they mimic aspects of the human tumour environment. This study aimed to profile 84 genes involved in apoptosis following treatment with PDT on lung cancer cells (A549) grown in a monolayer versus three-dimensional multicellular tumour spheroids (250 and 500 μm). Gene expression profiling was performed 24 h post irradiation (680 nm; 5 J/cm²) with zinc sulfophthalocyanine (ZnPcSmix) to determine the genes involved in apoptotic cell death. In the monolayer cells, eight pro-apoptotic genes were upregulated, and two were downregulated. In the multicellular tumour spheroids (250 µm) there was upregulation of only 1 gene while there was downregulation of 56 genes. Apoptosis in the monolayer cultured cells was induced via both the intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways. However, in the multicellular tumour spheroids (250 and 500 µm) the apoptotic pathway that was followed was not conclusive.