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Open AccessArticle

Selective Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs) Based on Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) Penetration Depth Inhibits Colon Polyp Formation in Mice

by Jun Ki Kim 1,2,†, Mi Ran Byun 3,†, Chi Hoon Maeng 4, Yi Rang Kim 5,6,* and Jin Woo Choi 3,*
1
Biomedical Engineering Research Center, Asan Institute for Life Sciences, Asan Medical Center, Seoul 05505, Korea
2
Department of Convergence Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul 05505, Korea
3
Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Korea
4
Department of Hemato-Oncology, College of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02447, Korea
5
Department of Hemato-Oncology, Yuseong Sun Hospital, Daejeon 34084, Korea
6
Oncocross Ltd., Seoul 04168, Korea
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Both authors contributed equally to this work.
Cancers 2020, 12(1), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12010203
Received: 19 November 2019 / Revised: 24 December 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2020 / Published: 14 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) in Oncology)
Targeting cancer stem cells (CSCs) without damaging normal stem cells could contribute to the development of novel radical cancer therapies. Cells expressing leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein coupled receptor 5 (Lgr5) constitute a cancer-causing population in the colon; therefore, targeting of Lgr5+ cells is expected to provide an opportunity to mitigate colon cancer. However, the expression of Lgr5 in normal stem cells makes it difficult to prove the efficacy of therapies targeted exclusively at Lgr5+ cancer cells. We used a modified photodynamic therapy technique involving cellular radiative transfer between green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing cells and a rose bengal photosensitizer. After treatment, tumors containing GFP-Lgr5+ cells were observed to be significantly suppressed or retarded with little effect on GFP-Lgr5+ stem cells at the crypt bottom. Lgr5+ CSCs were specifically eradicated in situ, when localized based on the depth from the colon lumen, revealing the potential preventive efficacy of Lgr5-targeted therapy on tumor growth. This study supports the idea that Lgr5+ cells localized near the colon luminal surface are central to colorectal cancer. With further development, the targeting of localized Lgr5+ cancer stem cells, which this study demonstrates in concept, may be feasible for prevention of colon cancer in high-risk populations. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer stem cells; green fluorescent protein; colon cancer; photodynamic therapy; rose bengal photosensitizers cancer stem cells; green fluorescent protein; colon cancer; photodynamic therapy; rose bengal photosensitizers
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Kim, J.K.; Byun, M.R.; Maeng, C.H.; Kim, Y.R.; Choi, J.W. Selective Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs) Based on Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) Penetration Depth Inhibits Colon Polyp Formation in Mice. Cancers 2020, 12, 203.

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