Muhanna N, Cui L, Chan H, Burgess L, Jin CS, MacDonald TD, Huynh E, Wang F, Chen J, Irish JC & Zheng G
Clinical Cancer Research, 2015

Purpose: The low survival rate of head-and-neck cancer (HNC) patients is attributable to late disease diagnosis and high recurrence rate. Current HNC staging has inadequate accuracy and low sensitivity for effective diagnosis and treatment management. The multimodel porphyrin lipoprotein-mimicking nanoplatform (PLP), intrinsically capable of positron emission tomography (PET), fluorescence imaging, and photodynamic therapy (PDT), shows great potential to enhance the accuracy of HNC staging and potentially HNC management. Experimental Design: Using a clinically relevant VX-2 buccal carcinoma rabbit model that is able to consistently develop metastasis to regional lymph nodes after tumor induction, we investigated the abilities of PLP for HNC diagnosis and management. Results: PLPs facilitated accurate detection of primary tumor and metastatic nodes (their PET image signal to surrounding muscle ratios were 10.0 and 7.3, respectively), and provided visualization of the lymphatic drainage from tumor to regional lymph nodes by both pre-operative PET and intra-operative fluorescence imaging, allowing the identification of unknown primaries and recurrent tumors. PLP-PDT significantly enhanced cell apoptosis in mouse tumors (73.2 % of PLP-PDT group versus 7.1 % of PLP alone group), and demonstrated complete eradication of primary tumors and obstruction of tumor metastasis in HNC rabbit model without toxicity in normal tissues or damage to adjacent critical structures. Conclusions: PLPs provide a multimodal imaging and therapy platform that could enhance HNC diagnosis by integrating PET/CT and fluorescence imaging, and improve HNC therapeutic efficacy and specificity by tailoring treatment via fluorescence-guided surgery and PDT.

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