Hexaphyrin as a Potential Theranostic Dye for Photothermal Therapy and 19 F Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Chembiochem. 2017 May 18;18(10):951-959. doi: 10.1002/cbic.201700071. Epub 2017 Mar 24.


Two features of meso-Aryl-substituted expanded porphyrins suggest suitability as theranostic agents. They have excellent absorption in near infrared (NIR) region, and they offer the possibility of introduction of multiple fluorine atoms at structurally equivalent positions. Here, hexaphyrin (hexa) was synthesized from 2,6-bis(trifluoromethyl)-4-formyl benzoate and pyrrole and evaluated as a novel expanded porphyrin with the above features. Under NIR illumination hexa showed intense photothermal and weak photodynamic effects, which were most likely due to its low excited states, close to singlet oxygen. The sustained photothermal effect caused ablation of cancer cells more effectively than the photodynamic effect of indocyanine green (a clinical dye). In addition, hexa showed potential for use in the visualization of tumors by 19 F magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), because of the multiple fluorine atoms. Our results strongly support the utility of expanded porphyrins as theranostic agents in both photothermal therapy and 19 F MRI.

Keywords: MRI; NMR spectroscopy; expanded porphyrin; fluorine; photochemistry; theranostics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Survival
  • Fluorine-19 Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced*
  • Phototherapy*
  • Porphyrins / chemistry*
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared
  • Theranostic Nanomedicine
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Porphyrins