Novel theranostic nanoporphyrins for photodynamic diagnosis and trimodal therapy for bladder cancer

Tzu Yin Lin, Yuanpei Li, Qiangqiang Liu, Jui Lin Chen, Hongyong Zhang, Diana Lac, Hua Zhang, Katherine W Ferrara, Sebastian Wachsmann-Hogiu, Tianhong Li, Susan Airhart, Ralph deVere White, Kit S. Lam, Chong Xian Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The overall prognosis of bladder cancer has not been improved over the last 30 years and therefore, there is a great medical need to develop novel diagnosis and therapy approaches for bladder cancer. We developed a multifunctional nanoporphyrin platform that was coated with a bladder cancer-specific ligand named PLZ4. PLZ4-nanoporphyrin (PNP) integrates photodynamic diagnosis, image-guided photodynamic therapy, photothermal therapy and targeted chemotherapy in a single procedure. PNPs are spherical, relatively small (around 23 nm), and have the ability to preferably emit fluorescence/heat/reactive oxygen species upon illumination with near infrared light. Doxorubicin (DOX) loaded PNPs possess slower drug release and dramatically longer systemic circulation time compared to free DOX. The fluorescence signal of PNPs efficiently and selectively increased in bladder cancer cells but not normal urothelial cells in vitro and in an orthotopic patient derived bladder cancer xenograft (PDX) models, indicating their great potential for photodynamic diagnosis. Photodynamic therapy with PNPs was significantly more potent than 5-aminolevulinic acid, and eliminated orthotopic PDX bladder cancers after intravesical treatment. Image-guided photodynamic and photothermal therapies synergized with targeted chemotherapy of DOX and significantly prolonged overall survival of mice carrying PDXs. In conclusion, this uniquely engineered targeting PNP selectively targeted tumor cells for photodynamic diagnosis, and served as effective triple-modality (photodynamic/photothermal/chemo) therapeutic agents against bladder cancers. This platform can be easily adapted to individualized medicine in a clinical setting and has tremendous potential to improve the management of bladder cancer in the clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-351
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Bladder cancer
  • Nanotechnology
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Photothermal therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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