Photodynamic therapy for drug resistant breast cancer

Breast cancer
© iStock/gorodenkoff

New research published in Cancer Cell International highlights the role of photodynamic therapy on multidrug resistant breast cancer.

Breast cancer heterogeneity allows for cells with different phenotypes to coexist, this contributes to treatment failures and the subsequent development of drug resistance. Abnormal signal transduction and dysfunctional DNA repair genes are common features with breast cancer resistance.

Chemo-resistance in breast cancer is associated with multidrug resistance and even uses ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters to decrease drug intracellular concentration. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is the treatment that involves a combination of photosensitisers (PS), light and molecular oxygen to induce cell death.

This treatment has been considered as a possible approach in combating multidrug resistance phenomenon although it’s therapeutic potential toward chemo-resistance is still unclear.

Therapeutic strategy developments for breast cancer, especially those with a lack of oestrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 expressions, have been challenged due to the nature of targeted therapy.

Transmembrane domains exhibit a far high risk of drug resistance and cancer relapse. The therapeutic effects of PDT in cancer treatment are promising, especially at the palliative end point. This will remain an area of interest with the possibility od serving as an alternative to broad-spectrum antibiotics based therapy, limiting the development of drug resistance.

The study explains: “Immunotherapy using drug delivery system could also be used to bypass the efflux transporters and deliver PS into tumour cells thus maximise treatment efficacy and thwart survival mechanism in resistant tumour.

“In addition to this development, PDT resistant cells should also be used as a model to further study the impact of PDT on the cellular targets.

PDT studies on MDR tumour cells with focus on the multidrug resistant phenotype on PS uptake might shed light and contribute to the circumvention of drug resistance.

“It is expected that this review will hopefully stimulate innovative preclinical and clinical PDT research against multidrug resistance cancer cells.”

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