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Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology
Fator do impacto: 1.241 FI de cinco anos: 1.349 SJR: 0.356 SNIP: 0.613 CiteScore™: 1.61

ISSN Imprimir: 0731-8898
ISSN On-line: 2162-6537

Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology

DOI: 10.1615/JEnvironPatholToxicolOncol.v27.i1.30
pages 23-33

Potentiation of the Photodynamic Action of Hypericin

Constance Lay Lay Saw
Department of Pharmacy, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543
Paul Wan Sia Heng
Department of Pharmacy, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543
Malini Olivo
Division of Medical Sciences, National Cancer Centre Singapore, 11 Hospital Drive, National Cancer Centre, 169610 Singapore


Hypericin (HY) is an interesting photosensitizer with dark activity and photodynamic therapy (PDT) effects via p53-independent pathway. In photodynamic diagnosis (PDD) of bladder cancer using HY, very high sensitivity and specificity were reported, in comparison with its counterpart, 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA). HY was tested for the detection of human gastric cancer. It was also studied for treating some cancers and age-related macular degeneration and showed some promising findings. Several strategies to enhance the efficacy of HY-PDD and HY-PDT are reviewed. Using fractionated light dosing, fractionated drug dosing, hyperthermia, adjuvants such as oxygen carrier/antiangiogenesis, chemical modifications, and formulation approaches to enhance the PDT effects of HY are topics of this review. Despite cutting-edge technology approach such as preparing transferring-mediated targeting HY liposomes and nanoparticles of HY, such preparations did not always offer the desired enhanced treatment effects. It turns out that simple solutions of HY, especially those prepared without using plasma protein, were more successful in enhancing the delivery of HY for in vitro and in vivo systems. Thus, the HY-PDT with these formulations performed better. It is anticipated that HY-PDD and HY-PDT can be enhanced and optimized with the right combination of light dosimetry and drug dose in an effective formulation containing a suitable adjuvant. Hyperoxygenation and hyperthermia can also be used to further enhance the efficacy of HY-PDT.