We investigated the feasibility of a novel photosensitizer, ATX-S10.Na (II), in photodynamic therapy (PDT) for glioma. First, PDT was performed in various brain tumor cell lines in vitro. Cytotoxicity depended upon both drug concentration and laser energy and the 50% inhibitory concentration ranged from 3.5 to 20 microg/ml. Next, PDT was performed in the subcutaneous and intracranial 9L tumor models in Fischer rats using ATX-S10.Na (II) and light from a 670-nm diode laser delivered by intratumoral insertion of an optical fiber. The effect of PDT on brain tumors was evaluated using magnetic resonance imaging. Sequential changes of the ATX-S10.Na (II) concentrations were also measured quantitatively by fluorospectrometry up to 12 h after intravenous administration in rats with intracranial and subcutaneous tumors. The concentration of ATX-S10.Na (II) in the brain tumor reached a maximum at 2 h after administration and the tumor/normal brain concentration ratio was as high as 131 at 8 h. Intratumoral PDT for intracranial tumors irradiated at this timing showed an obvious anti-tumor effect without severe side effects. The present study demonstrated the highly selective accumulation of ATX-S10.Na (II) in tumor tissue and its potent photodynamic effect in an experimental malignant glioma model.