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Chiral Alkyl Groups at Position 3(1′) of Pyropheophorbide‑a Specify Uptake and Retention by Tumor Cells and Are Essential for Effective Photodynamic Therapy

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posted on 06.04.2021, 20:06 authored by Ravindra R. Cheruku, Erin C. Tracy, Walter Tabaczynski, Joseph R. Missert, Heinz Baumann, Ravindra K. Pandey
To investigate the importance of the chirality and precise structure at position 3(1′) of pyropheophorbide-a for tumor cell specificity and photodynamic therapy (PDT), a series of photosensitizers (PSs) was synthesized: (a) with and without chirality at position 3(1′), (b) alkyl ether chain with a variable number of chiral centers, (c) hexyl ether versus thioether side chain, and (d) methyl ester versus carboxylic acid group at position 172. The cellular uptake and specificity were defined in human lung and head/neck cancer cells. PSs without a chiral center and with an alkyl chain or thioether functionalities showed limited uptake and PDT efficacy. Replacing the methyl group at the chiral center with a propyl group or introducing an additional chiral center improved cellular retention and tumor cell specificity. Replacing the carboxylic acid with methyl ester at position 172 lowered cellular uptake and PDT efficacy. A direct correlation between the PS uptake in vitro and in vivo was identified.

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