Photodynamic therapy (PDT), a spatially localized phototoxic therapy that involves irradiation of a photosensitizer (PS) with specific wavelengths of light, has shown exceptional promise in impacting cancer treatment outcomes, particularly oral cancer. To reduce PDT outcome variability, attempts toward image-guided personalized PDT are being pursued by monitoring PS uptake either via fluorescence or photoacoustic imaging (PAI), a nonionizing modality dependent on optical absorption properties of the tissue. PAI-guided PDT requires a near-infrared contrast agent for deep tissue imaging with minimal photobleaching effect. We evaluate the impact of PDT agent, benzoporphyrin derivative (BPD), on PAI agent indocyanine green (ICG) and vice versa, given that they have different optical absorption properties and singlet oxygen quantum yields for PDT. Specifically, we demonstrate in two oral squamous cell carcinoma lines (FaDu and SCC4) that ICG has minimal effect on BPD PDT efficacy when irradiated with either a continuous or pulsed laser. Furthermore, the impact of BPD on ICG photodegradation was monitored with PAI in tissue-mimicking phantoms. These studies inform us that the combination of BPD and ICG can be utilized for PAI-guided PDT. However, researchers need to consider the photodegradation effects of ICG in the presence of BPD when designing their drug delivery strategies for PAI-guided PDT.
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