In vivo evaluation of battery-operated light-emitting diode-based photodynamic therapy efficacy using tumor volume and biomarker expression as endpoints

J Biomed Opt. 2015 Apr;20(4):048003. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.20.4.048003.


In view of the increase in cancer-related mortality rates in low- to middle-income countries (LMIC), there is an urgent need to develop economical therapies that can be utilized at minimal infrastructure institutions. Photodynamic therapy (PDT), a photochemistry-based treatment modality, offers such a possibility provided that low-cost light sources and photosensitizers are available. In this proof-of-principle study, we focus on adapting the PDT light source to a low-resource setting and compare an inexpensive, portable, battery-powered light-emitting diode (LED) light source with a standard, high-cost laser source. The comparison studies were performed in vivo in a xenograft murine model of human squamous cell carcinoma subjected to 5-aminolevulinic acid-induced protoporphyrin IX PDT. We observed virtually identical control of the tumor burden by both the LED source and the standard laser source. Further insights into the biological response were evaluated by biomarker analysis of necrosis, microvessel density, and hypoxia [carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) expression] among groups of control, LED-PDT, and laser-PDT treated mice. There is no significant difference in the percent necrotic volume and CAIX expression in tumors that were treated with the two different light sources. These encouraging preliminary results merit further investigations in orthotopic animal models of cancers prevalent in LMICs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Carbonic Anhydrase IX
  • Carbonic Anhydrases / analysis
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Electric Power Supplies*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Female
  • Lighting / instrumentation*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / chemistry
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*
  • Photochemotherapy / instrumentation*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Protoporphyrins / therapeutic use
  • Semiconductors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Burden


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Protoporphyrins
  • protoporphyrin IX
  • Carbonic Anhydrase IX
  • Carbonic Anhydrases
  • Car9 protein, mouse