Recent advances in in situ oxygen-generating and oxygen-replenishing strategies for hypoxic-enhanced photodynamic therapy
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for an estimated 10 million deaths by 2020. Over the decades, various strategies for tumor therapy have been developed and evaluated. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has attracted increasing attention due to its unique characteristics, including low systemic toxicity and minimally invasive nature. Despite the excellent clinical promise of PDT, hypoxia is still the Achilles’ heel associated with its oxygen-dependent nature related to increased tumor proliferation, angiogenesis, and distant metastases. Moreover, PDT-mediated oxygen consumption further exacerbates the hypoxia condition, which will eventually lead to the poor effect of drug treatment and resistance and irreversible tumor metastasis, even limiting its effective application in the treatment of hypoxic tumors. Hypoxia, with increased oxygen consumption, may occur in acute and chronic hypoxia conditions in developing tumors. Tumor cells farther away from the capillaries have much lower oxygen levels than cells in adjacent areas. However, it is difficult to change the tumor's deep hypoxia state through different ways to reduce the tumor tissue's oxygen consumption. Therefore, it will become more difficult to cure malignant tumors completely. In recent years, numerous investigations have focused on improving PDT therapy's efficacy by providing molecular oxygen directly or indirectly to tumor tissues. In this review, different molecular oxygen supplementation methods are summarized to alleviate tumor hypoxia from the innovative perspective of using supplemental oxygen. Besides, the existing problems, future prospects and potential challenges of this strategy are also discussed.