Analysis of potential radiosensitizing materials for x-ray-induced photodynamic therapy

Junko Takahashi, Masaki Misawa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


For a development of deep tumor treatment in photodynamic therapy, a feasibility of novel radiosensitizers induced by x-ray was investigated. The sensitizers are designed to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) inside or outside the cell, possibly leading to damage exclusively on tumor cells and reservation of normal cells along the x-ray path. Taking note of the similarity in energy transfer mechanism in photocatalysts, scintillators, and particulate semiconductors, we chose TiO2, ZnS:Ag, CeF3, and quantum dots (CdTe and CdSe) in particulate form, which contain heavy atoms for efficient absorption of x-rays. A parameter study for x-ray operating conditions showed that in a typical scenario, photons with 20 to 170 keV energy are attenuated by 90% through the region of particle dispersed aqueous solution at varying concentration between 0.01 and 100 wt%. The amount of ROS generation under the exposure of polychromatic x-ray was measured using dihydroethidium reagent which detects an integrated amount of several species. Proportional increase in ROS generation to x-ray dose was observed for varying concentrations of TiO2, ZnS:Ag, CeF3, and CdSe quantum dot dispersions. Then, HeLa cells were mixed with aqueous solutions dispersed with sensitizing materials at a concentration of 3.0 mg/ml and were exposed to x-ray. Their survival fraction obtained by a cell proliferation reagent WST-1 immediately after the irradiation showed insignificant effects of sensitizing materials except at large doses. To enhance the sensitization effect, bio-conjugated CdSe quantum dots were internalized in the cytoplasm up to a concentration of 1.0 ng/ml. The cells were irradiated by x-ray up to 5 Gy, and their survival fraction was measured by the colony forming ability 9 days after irradiation. Survival fraction of the cells treated with quantum dots were less than those without quantum dots for all doses, suggesting that the colony forming ability is impaired by the internalized quantum dots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-126
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007 May
Externally publishedYes


  • Nanoparticles
  • Photocatalyst
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Sensitizer
  • X-ray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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