Modulating ALA-PDT efficacy of mutlidrug resistant MCF-7 breast cancer cells using ALA prodrug

Tamar Feuerstein, Gili Berkovitch-Luria, Abraham Nudelman, Ada Rephaeli, Zvi Malik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Multi-drug resistance of breast cancer is a major obstacle in chemotherapy of cancer treatments. Recently it was suggested that photodynamic therapy (PDT) can overcome drug resistance of tumors. ALA-PDT is based on the administration of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA), the natural precursor for the PpIX biosynthesis, which is a potent natural photosensitizer. In the present study we used the AlaAcBu, a multifunctional ALA-prodrug for photodynamic inactivation of drug resistant MCF-7/DOX breast cancer cells. Supplementation of low doses (0.2mM) of AlaAcBu to the cells significantly increased accumulation of PpIX in both MCF-7/WT and MCF-7/DOX cells in comparison to ALA, or ALA + butyric acid (BA). In addition, our results show that MCF-7/DOX cells are capable of producing higher levels of porphyrins than MCF-7/WT cells due to low expression of the enzyme ferrochelatase, which inserts iron into the tetra-pyrrol ring to form the end product heme. Light irradiation of the AlaAcBu treated cells activated efficient photodynamic killing of MCF-7/DOX cells similar to the parent MCF-7/WT cells, depicted by low mitochondrial enzymatic activity, LDH leakage and decreased cell survival following PDT. These results indicate that the pro-drug AlaAcBu is an effective ALA derivative for PDT treatments of multidrug resistant tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1926-1933
Number of pages8
JournalPhotochemical and Photobiological Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011


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