Author(s) Tudor, D.; Nenu, I.; Filip, G.Adriana; Olteanu, D.; Cenariu, M.; Tabaran, F.; Ion, R.Mariana; Gligor, L.; Baldea, I.
Journal PLoS One
Date Published 2017

BACKGROUND: Melanoma therapy is challenging, especially in advanced cases, due to multiple developed tumor defense mechanisms. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) might represent an adjuvant treatment, because of its bimodal action: tumor destruction and immune system awakening. In this study, a combination of PDT mediated by a metal substituted phthalocyanine-Gallium phthalocyanine chloride (GaPc) and Metformin was used against melanoma. The study aimed to: (1) find the anti-melanoma efficacy of GaPc-PDT, (2) assess possible beneficial effects of Metformin addition to PDT, (3) uncover some of the mechanisms underlining cell killing and anti-angiogenic effects.

METHODS: Two human lightly pigmented melanoma cell lines: WM35 and M1/15 subjected to previous Metformin exposure were treated by GaPc-PDT. Cell viability, death mechanism, cytoskeleton alterations, oxidative damage, were assessed by means of colorimetry, flowcytometry, confocal microscopy, spectrophotometry, ELISA, Western Blotting.

RESULTS: GaPc proved an efficient photosensitizer. Metformin addition enhanced cell killing by mechanisms dependent on the cell line, namely apoptosis in the metastatic M1/15 and necrosis in the radial growth phase, WM35. Cell death mechanism relied on the inhibition of nuclear transcription factor (NF)-κB activation and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) sensitization, leading to TRAIL and TNF-α induced apoptosis. Metformin diminished the anti-angiogenic effect of PDT.

CONCLUSIONS: Metformin addition to GaPc-PDT increased tumor cell killing through enhanced oxidative damage and induction of proapoptotic mechanisms, but altered PDT anti-angiogenic effects.

GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE: Combination of Metformin and PDT might represent a solution to enhance the efficacy, leading to a potential adjuvant role of PDT in melanoma therapy.

DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0173241
ISSN 1932-6203
Citation PLoS ONE. 2017;12(3):e0173241.

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