Journal of nanobiotechnology

Aluminium-phthalocyanine chloride nanoemulsions for anticancer photodynamic therapy: Development and in vitro activity against monolayers and spheroids of human mammary adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells.

PMID 25966866


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) combines light, molecular oxygen and a photosensitizer to induce oxidative stress in target cells. Certain hydrophobic photosensitizers, such as aluminium-phthalocyanine chloride (AlPc), have significant potential for antitumor PDT applications. However, hydrophobic molecules often require drug-delivery systems, such as nanostructures, to improve their pharmacokinetic properties and to prevent aggregation, which has a quenching effect on the photoemission properties in aqueous media. As a result, this work aims to develop and test the efficacy of an AlPc in the form of a nanoemulsion to enable its use in anticancer PDT. The nanoemulsion was developed using castor oil and Cremophor ELP®, and a monodisperse population of nanodroplets with a hydrodynamic diameter of approximately 25 nm was obtained. While free AlPc failed to show significant activity against human breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells in an in vitro PDT assay, the AlPc in the nanoemulsion showed intense photodynamic activity. Photoactivated AlPc exhibited a 50 % cytotoxicity concentration (CC50) of 6.0 nM when applied to MCF-7 cell monolayers and exerted a powerful cytotoxic effect on MCF-7 cell spheroids. Through the use of spontaneous emulsification, a stable AlPc nanoemulsion was developed that exhibits strong in vitro photodynamic activity on cancer cells.