The pharmacokinetics of the photosensitizer used play a key role in the understanding of the mechanism of photodynamic therapy-induced damage. Fluorescence microscopy was used to compare time-dependent biodistribution of tetra(m-hydroxyphenyl)chlorin (mTHPC) and benzoporphyrin derivative monoacid ring A (BPD-MA) in different hamster tissues, including an early, chemically induced, squamous cell carcinoma. Following injection of 0.5 mg/kg body weight of mTHPC and 2.0 mg/kg BPD-MA, groups of three animals were sacrificed at different time points and a series of fluorescence micrographs from different excised organs were analyzed. The highest fluorescence intensities of mTHPC were observed at 96 h for squamous epithelia and skin and at 48 h for smooth muscle. There is no real peak of BPD-MA fluorescence between 30 min and 3 h in the basal epithelial layers, fibroconnective tissue, muscles or blood vessels. At 4 h after injection, the fluorescence level of BPD-MA decreased and at 24 h it had returned to background level in all observed tissues. The significantly faster clearance of BPD-MA is the principal advantage as compared to mTHPC. However, similar localization patterns in different tissues with essentially vascular affinity represent a possible disadvantage for treating early malignancies with BPD-MA as compared to mTHPC, which is mainly localized in various epithelia. For both photosensitizers no significant selectivity between early squamous cell carcinoma and healthy mucosae is seen. Pharmacokinetic studies of different photosensitizers in an appropriate animal model are essential for selecting new-generation photosensitizers with the most favorable localization for photodynamic therapy of early malignancies in hollow organs.
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Vol. 71 • No. 3