Clinical Research Papers:

Avoiding thermal injury during near-infrared photoimmunotherapy (NIR-PIT): the importance of NIR light power density

Shuhei Okuyama, Tadanobu Nagaya, Fusa Ogata, Yasuhiro Maruoka, Kazuhide Sato, Yuko Nakamura, Peter L. Choyke and Hisataka Kobayashi _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:113194-113201. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20179

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Shuhei Okuyama1, Tadanobu Nagaya1, Fusa Ogata1, Yasuhiro Maruoka1, Kazuhide Sato1, Yuko Nakamura1, Peter L. Choyke1 and Hisataka Kobayashi1

1National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Molecular Imaging Program, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892, United States

Correspondence to:

Hisataka Kobayashi, email: [email protected]

Keywords: near-infrared photoimmunotherapy, thermal effect, thermal imaging, power density

Received: July 07, 2017     Accepted: August 03, 2017     Published: August 11, 2017


Near-infrared photoimmunotherapy (NIR-PIT) is a newly-established cancer treatment which employs the combination of an antibody-photoabsorber conjugate (APC) and NIR light. When NIR light is absorbed by APC-bound tissues, a certain amount of heat is generated locally. For the most part this results in a subclinical rise in skin temperature, however, excessive light exposure may cause non-specific thermal damage. In this study, we investigated the potential for thermal damage caused by NIR-PIT by measuring surface temperature. Two sources of light, laser and light emitting diode (LED), were compared in a mouse tumor model. First, we found that the skin was heated rapidly by NIR light regardless of whether laser or LED light sources were used. Air cooling at the surface reduced the rise in temperature. There were no associations between the rise of skin temperature and tumor volume of the treated tumor, or APC concentration. Second, we investigated the extent of thermal damage to the skin at various light doses. We detected burn injuries 1 day after NIR-PIT, when the NIR light was at a power density higher than 600 mW/cm2. Successful treatments at lower power density could be achieved if the total light energy absorbed by the tumor was the same, i.e. by extending the duration of light exposure. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that thermal injury after NIR-PIT can be avoided by either employing a cooling system or by lowering the power density of the light source and prolonging the exposure time such that the total energy is constant. Thus, thermal damage is preventable side effect of NIR-PIT.

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