Drug Carrier for Photodynamic Cancer Therapy

Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Sep 14;16(9):22094-136. doi: 10.3390/ijms160922094.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a non-invasive combinatorial therapeutic modality using light, photosensitizer (PS), and oxygen used for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. When PSs in cells are exposed to specific wavelengths of light, they are transformed from the singlet ground state (S₀) to an excited singlet state (S₁-Sn), followed by intersystem crossing to an excited triplet state (T₁). The energy transferred from T₁ to biological substrates and molecular oxygen, via type I and II reactions, generates reactive oxygen species, (¹O₂, H₂O₂, O₂*, HO*), which causes cellular damage that leads to tumor cell death through necrosis or apoptosis. The solubility, selectivity, and targeting of photosensitizers are important factors that must be considered in PDT. Nano-formulating PSs with organic and inorganic nanoparticles poses as potential strategy to satisfy the requirements of an ideal PDT system. In this review, we summarize several organic and inorganic PS carriers that have been studied to enhance the efficacy of photodynamic therapy against cancer.

Keywords: biodegradable; cancer cells; inorganic nanocarrier; nanoparticles; organic nanocarrier; photodynamic therapy; photosensitizers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Carriers / adverse effects*
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Nanoparticles / adverse effects*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Photochemotherapy / methods*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / chemistry


  • Drug Carriers
  • Photosensitizing Agents