Photodynamic therapy is a clinically approved, minimally invasive,-therapeutic procedure used for the treatment of several cancers. In recent years, sunitinib, one of the tyrosine kinase inhibitors, has also attracted attention as a novel photosensitizer. However, there is currently no data available on the combined cytotoxic effects of sunitinib and photoirradiation on renal cell carcinoma including how the treatment induced cellular toxicity.
In the present study, we used sunitinib as a photosensitizer and evaluated the effects of sunitinib and photodynamic therapy treatment on renal cancer cell lines, including the induction of cell death.
Our study showed that treatment with sunitinib and photoirradiation at 8 mW/cm for 30 min resulted in the production intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), which is indicated by the increase in mRNA expression levels of PAI-1, NF-κβ, and Caspase-3. An increase in rate of apoptotic reaction and increase in the expression level of apoptotic marker were also observed when cells undergo treatment with sunitinib and photoirradiation.
Our findings suggest that combining photodynamic therapy with sunitinib represents a minimally invasive therapeutic procedure with cancer selectivity for renal cell carcinoma.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.