Extracorporeal photodynamic image detection of mouse osteosarcoma in soft tissues utilizing fluorovisualization effect of acridine orange

Oncology. 2006;70(6):465-73. doi: 10.1159/000098874. Epub 2007 Jan 19.


Various imaging methods have been employed for the extracorporeal detection of malignant tumors in the human body, such as scintigraphy and PET; however, none is sufficiently accurate and all are also very expensive. To resolve these issues, we attempted to develop a new imaging technique of photodynamic diagnosis (PDD) with acridine orange (AO). AO has the ability to rapidly and specifically accumulate in malignant tumors and emit brilliant green fluorescence after blue light excitation. In this study, we investigated the feasibility of PDD utilizing the fluorovisualization effect of AO, for the extracorporeal detection of mouse osteosarcoma inoculated into the soft tissues. At 2 h after intravenous administration of 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0 and 5.0 mg/kg AO, the tumor and the surrounding normal tissues were illuminated by blue light. The visual fluorescence contrast and ratio (X) of the difference in fluorescence intensity between the tumor and the surrounding normal tissues were evaluated using a high-resolution digital camera equipped with an absorption filter. In addition, the fluorescence contrast was also detected sequentially at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 6 and 12 h after intravenous administration of AO at 1.0 mg/kg. The results revealed that the optimal condition for clear detection of the tumor was evaluation 2 h after intravenous injection of AO at 0.1 mg/kg, because it provided the best visual contrast on the digital images, and the fluorescence intensity as well as the value of X were higher as compared to the values under other conditions of dose and timing. Based on the results of an acute toxicity study of AO, the estimated LD50 of this substance following intravenous administration was 27.30 mg/kg. In conclusion, we believe that PDD using AO administered intravenously may be feasible for the detection of human musculoskeletal sarcomas in the soft tissues at extremities, and this technique might be a less invasive, less expensive, quicker and more accurate imaging modality than other previously reported imaging methods for this purpose.

MeSH terms

  • Acridine Orange* / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Fluorescence
  • Fluorescent Dyes* / toxicity
  • Mice
  • Osteosarcoma / diagnosis*
  • Osteosarcoma / pathology
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / pathology
  • Time Factors


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Acridine Orange