Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a noninvasive optical treatment method in which the topical or systemic delivery of photosensitizing drugs is followed by irradiation with broadband red light. Coupling photosensitizers with a specific antibody may allow this approach to target specific cancers. This study determines the antitumor efficacy of coupling verteporfin (Visudyne ®), a hydrophobic polyporphryin oligomer, with an antiepidermal growth factor receptor (anti-EGFR) antibody. Poly[2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine-co-n-butyl methacrylate-co-p-nitrophenylcarbonyloxyethyl methacrylate] (PMBN) was conjugated with an anti-EGFR antibody and mixed with verteporfin (verteporfin-PMBN-antibody complex). Tumor-bearing mice were intravenously injected with the verteporfin-PMBN-antibody complex or verteporfin plus PMBN without the antibody. Irradiation was conducted at 640 nm with a dose of 75 J/cm 2. The fluorescence intensity in A431 cells in vitro was threefold higher after exposure to verteporfin-PMBN-antibody complex than after exposure to verteporfin-PMBN. In A431 tumor-bearing mice, the intratumor concentration of verteporfin was 9.4 times higher than that of the skin, following administration of the verteporfin-PMBN-antibody complex. Tumor size significantly decreased within 8 days in mice treated with verteporfin-PMBN- antibody complex compared with those treated with verteporfin-PMBN. PDT using a PMBN-verteporfin-antibody complex offers a promising anticancer therapy.
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