Targeted photodynamic therapy as potential treatment modality for the eradication of colon cancer and colon cancer stem cells

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: Colorectal cancer is commonly treated by tumour resection, as chemotherapy and radiation have proven to be less effective, especially if the tumour has metastasized. Resistance to therapies occurs in almost all patients with colorectal cancer, especially in those with metastatic tumours. Cancer stem cells have the ability to self-renew, and their slow rate of cycling enhances resistance to treatment and increases the likelihood of tumour recurrence. Most metastatic tumours are unable to be surgically removed, thus creating a need for treatment modalities that target cancers directly and destroy cancer stem cells. Photodynamic therapy involves a photosensitizer that when exposed to a light source of a particular wavelength becomes excited and produces a form of oxygen that kills cancer cells. Photodynamic therapy is currently being investigated as a treatment modality for colorectal cancer, and new studies are exploring enhancing photodynamic therapy efficacy with the aid of drug carriers and immune conjugates. These modifications could prove effective in targeting cancer stem cells that are thought to be resistant to photodynamic therapy. In order for photodynamic therapy to be an effective treatment in colorectal cancer, it requires treatment of both primary tumours and the metastatic secondary disease that is caused by colon cancer stem cells. This review focuses on current photodynamic therapy treatments available for colorectal cancer and highlights proposed actively targeted photosynthetic drug uptake mechanisms specifically mediated towards colon cancer stem cells, as well as identify the gaps in research which need to be investigated in order to develop a combinative targeted photodynamic therapy regime that can effectively control colorectal cancer primary and metastatic tumour growth by eliminating colon cancer stem cells. Tumor Biology, DOI: 10.1177/1010428317734691