Combination approaches to potentiate immune response after photodynamic therapy for cancer

Tyler G. St. Denis, Kanza Aziz, Anam A. Waheed, Ying Ying Huang, Sulbha K. Sharma, Pawel Mroz, Michael R. Hamblin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been used as a cancer therapy for forty years but has not advanced to a mainstream cancer treatment. Although it has been shown to be an efficient way to destroy local tumors by a combination of non-toxic dyes and harmless visible light, it is its additional effects in mediating the stimulation of the host immune system that gives PDT great potential to become more widely used. Although the stimulation of tumor-specific cytotoxic T-cells that can destroy distant tumor deposits after PDT has been reported in some animal models, it remains the exception rather than the rule. This realization has prompted several investigators to test various combination approaches that could potentiate the immune recognition of tumor antigens that have been released after PDT. This review will cover these combination approaches using immunostimulants including various microbial preparations that activate Toll-like receptors and other receptors for pathogen-associated molecular patterns, cytokines growth factors, and approaches that target regulatory T-cells. We believe that by understanding the methods employed by tumors to evade immune response and neutralizing them, more precise ways of potentiating PDT-induced immunity can be devised.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)792-801
Number of pages10
JournalPhotochemical and Photobiological Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


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