Increased PDT Efficacy When Associated with Nitroglycerin: A Study on Retinoblastoma Xenografted on Mice
Purposes: The aim of the study was to assess the efficacy of a treatment protocol that combines photodynamic therapy (PDT) and nitroglycerin (NG) on human retinoblastoma tumors xenografted on mice. We aimed to increase the PDT efficiency (in our least treatment-responsive retinoblastoma line) with better PS delivery to the tumor generated by NG, which is known to dilate vessels and enhance the permeability and retention of macromolecules in solid tumors. Methods: In vivo follow-up of the therapeutic effects was performed by sodium MRI, which directly monitors variations in sodium concentrations non-invasively and can be used to track the tumor response to therapy. NG ointment was applied one hour before PDT. The PDT protocol involves double-tumor targeting, i.e., cellular and vascular. The first PS dose was injected followed by a second one, separated by a 3 h interval. The timelapse allowed the PS molecules to penetrate tumor cells. Ten minutes after the second dose, the PS was red-light-activated. Results: In this study, we observed that the PDT effect was enhanced by applying nitroglycerin ointment to the tumor-bearing animal’s skin. PDT initiates the bystander effect on retinoblastomas, and NG increases this effect by increasing the intratumoral concentration of PS, which induces a higher production of ROS in the illuminated region and thus increases the propagation of the cell death signal deeper into the tumor (bystander effect).