Bioreductively activated alkylating agents (BAA) require metabolic reduction to become cytotoxic. Hypoxia induces a massive increase in reductive metabolism activating BAA to their cytotoxic form. One of these BAA agents is cis-2,3-dimethyl 1-(2-nitro-1-imidazolyl)-3- (1-aziridinyl)-2- propanol referred to as RSU-1164. In a hypoxic environment, RSU-1164 is activated to a highly reactive bifunctional alkylating agent capable of crosslinking macromolecules which results in cell death. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment modality which consists of the initial accumulation of hematoporphyrin derivative (HPD) within a tumor followed by the activation of the HPD by 630 nm. light to induce a cytotoxic response. The precise mechanism of PDT is not known, however, two actions of the activated HPD have been documented. The first is a direct cytotoxic effect, secondary to singlet oxygen production. The second is through vascular collapse and subsequent hypoxia. The combination of a chemotherapeutic agent like RSU-1164, which is activated by hypoxia, with PDT to produce such hypoxia, therefore, should greatly increase the efficiency and utility of RSU-1164. To test this hypothesis, Copenhagen rats bearing established Dunning R-3327 AT-2 prostate cancers were treated with PDT treatment alone (HPD 20 mg./kg. injected IP and then 24 hr. later, the tumor exposed to 630 nm. light at 400 mW/cm2. for 30 min. [total dose 720 J/cm2.]), RSU-1164 alone (injected IP at a dose of 200 mg./kg.) or with the combination of this PDT treatment plus RSU-1164 given 30 min. before light exposure. These results demonstrated that this combinational treatment synergistically produces a greater retardation in the growth of the AT-2 tumor than either of the monotherapies of RSU-1164 or PDT alone.
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