Subtherapeutic Photodynamic Treatment Facilitates Tumor Nanomedicine Delivery and Overcomes Desmoplasia

Marta Overchuk, Kara M. Harmatys, Shrey Sindhwani, Maneesha A. Rajora, Adam Koebel, Danielle M. Charron, Abdullah M. Syed, Juan Chen, Martin G. Pomper, Brian C. Wilson, Warren C.W. Chan, Gang Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Limited tumor nanoparticle accumulation remains one of the main challenges in cancer nanomedicine. Here, we demonstrate that subtherapeutic photodynamic priming (PDP) enhances the accumulation of nanoparticles in subcutaneous murine prostate tumors ∼3-5-times without inducing cell death, vascular destruction, or tumor growth delay. We also found that PDP resulted in an ∼2-times decrease in tumor collagen content as well as a significant reduction of extracellular matrix density in the subendothelial zone. Enhanced nanoparticle accumulation combined with the reduced extravascular barriers improved therapeutic efficacy in the absence of off-target toxicity, wherein 5 mg/kg of Doxil with PDP was equally effective in delaying tumor growth as 15 mg/kg of Doxil. Overall, this study demonstrates the potential of PDP to enhance tumor nanomedicine accumulation and alleviate tumor desmoplasia without causing cell death or vascular destruction, highlighting the utility of PDP as a minimally invasive priming strategy that can improve therapeutic outcomes in desmoplastic tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-352
Number of pages9
JournalNano Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 13 2021


  • PSMA
  • extracellular matrix
  • nanomedicine
  • photodynamic therapy
  • prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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