Monitoring photodynamic therapy of solid tumors online by BOLD-contrast MRI

Nat Med. 2003 Oct;9(10):1327-31. doi: 10.1038/nm940. Epub 2003 Sep 21.


Antivascular photodynamic therapy (PDT) of tumors with palladium-bacteriopheophorbide (TOOKAD) relies on in situ photosensitization of the circulating drug by local generation of cytotoxic reactive oxygen species, which leads to rapid vascular occlusion, stasis, necrosis and tumor eradication. Intravascular production of reactive oxygen species is associated with photoconsumption of O(2) and consequent evolution of paramagnetic deoxyhemoglobin. In this study we evaluate the use of blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) contrast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for real-time monitoring of PDT efficacy. Using a solid tumor model, we show that TOOKAD-PDT generates appreciable attenuation (25-40%) of the magnetic resonance signal, solely at the illuminated tumor site. This phenomenon is independent of, though augmented by, ensuing changes in blood flow. These results were validated by immunohistochemistry and intravital microscopy. The concept of photosensitized BOLD-contrast MRI may have intraoperative applications in interactive guidance and monitoring of antivascular cancer therapy, PDT treatment of macular degeneration, interventional cardiology and possibly other biomedical disciplines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteriochlorophylls / therapeutic use
  • Contrast Media / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Photochemotherapy / methods*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Bacteriochlorophylls
  • Contrast Media
  • Hemoglobins
  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • palladium-bacteriopheophorbide