A hybrid of radiotherapy and photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been proposed in previously reported studies. This approach utilizes scintillating nanoparticles to transfer energy to attached photosensitizers, thus generating singlet oxygen for local killing of malignant cells. Its effectiveness strongly depends upon the scintillation yield of the nanoparticles. Using a liquid scintillator as a reference standard, we estimated the scintillation yield of Ce0.1La0.9F3/LaF3 core/shell nanoparticles at 28.9 mg/ml in water to be 350 photons/MeV under orthovoltage X-ray irradiation. The subsequent singlet oxygen production for a 60 Gy cumulative dose to cells was estimated to be four orders of magnitude lower than the “Niedre killing dose,” used as a target value for effective cell killing. Without significant improvements in the radioluminescence properties of the nanoparticles, this approach to “deep PDT” is likely to be ineffective. Additional considerations and alternatives to singlet oxygen are discussed.
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Vol. 190 • No. 1