Near-infrared photoimmunotherapy (NIR-PIT) is a newly-developed, highly-selective cancer treatment, which utilizes a monoclonal antibody conjugated to a photoabsorbing dye, IRDye700DX (IR700). The antibody conjugate is injected into the patient and accumulates in the tumour. Within 24 h of injection the tumour is exposed to NIR light which activates the conjugate and causes rapid, selective cancer cell death. A global phase III clinical trial of NIR-PIT in recurrent head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) patients is currently underway. Conditional clinical approval for NIR-PIT in recurrent HNSCC has been granted in Japan as of September 2020. Not only does NIR-PIT induce highly selective and immediate cancer cell killing, but it also stimulates highly active anti-tumour immunity. While monotherapy with NIR-PIT has proven effective it is likely that combinations with immune-checkpoint inhibitors or additional NIR-PIT targeting immune suppressive cells in the tumour microenvironment will further improve results. In this review, we discuss the translational aspects of NIR-PIT especially in HNSCC, and potential future applications.
Published by Elsevier B.V.