Photodynamic therapy (PDT) of cancer uses photosensitizers (PS), a light source and oxygen to generate high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), that exert a cytotoxic action on tumor cells. Recently, it has been shown that mixed non-symmetrical diaryl porphyrins, with two different pendants, are more photodynamically active than symmetrical diaryl porphyrins. In the present study, we investigate the in vitro photodynamic effects of four novel non-symmetrical diaryl porphyrins, two of which bear one pentafluoro-phenyl and one bromo-alkyl (apolar) pendant, whereas the two others bear one pentafluoro-phenyl and one cationic pyridine pendant. The four compounds were tested in a small panel of human cancer cell lines, and their photodynamic activities were compared with that of m-THPC (Foscan), currently the most successful PS approved for clinical use in cancer PDT. The results of the cytotoxicity studies indicate that the two molecules bearing the cationic pendant are more potent in vitro than those with the apolar pendant, and that they are as potent as Foscan. To gain further insights into the mechanism of PS-induced phototoxicity, induction of apoptotic, autophagic and necrotic cell death, and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were evaluated in cancer cells following exposure to the PSs and irradiation. The effect of the PSs on the migratory activity of the cells was also assessed. The data obtained from this work support a greater potency of diaryl porphyrins with a positive charge in inducing cell death, as compared to those with the bromo-alkyl pendant; most importantly, some of these novel compounds exhibit features that might make them superior to the clinically approved PS Foscan.
Research. Development. Production.