The role of photodynamic therapy in overcoming cancer drug resistance
Many modalities of cancer therapy induce mechanisms of treatment resistance and escape pathways during chronic treatments, including photodynamic therapy (PDT). It is conceivable that resistance induced by one treatment might be overcome by another treatment. Emerging evidence suggests that the unique mechanisms of tumor cell and microenvironment damage produced by PDT could be utilized to overcome cancer drug resistance, to mitigate the compensatory induction of survival pathways and even to re-sensitize resistant cells to standard therapies. Approaches that capture the unique features of PDT, therefore, offer promising factors for increasing the efficacy of a broad range of therapeutic modalities. Here, we highlight key preclinical findings utilizing PDT to overcome classical drug resistance or escape pathways and thus enhance the efficacy of many pharmaceuticals, possibly explaining the clinical observations of the PDT response to otherwise treatment-resistant diseases. With the development of nanotechnology, it is possible that light activation may be used not only to damage and sensitize tumors but also to enable controlled drug release to inhibit escape pathways that may lead to resistance or cell proliferation.