Near-infrared photoimmunotherapy (NIR-PIT), a promising cancer therapy utilizing an antibody-photoabsorber conjugate (APC) and NIR light, which induces rapid necrotic cell death only in APC-bound cells. Effective NIR-PIT in mouse models has been achieved using superficial light illumination (SLI) with light emitting diodes (LEDs) or lasers, but in the clinical setting, fiber optic diffusers have been employed to deliver light to deeper tumors. However, the performance of NIR light in tissue delivered by fiber optic diffusers is poorly understood. Here, we investigated NIR-PIT using a cylindrical fiber optic diffuser in a mouse model of A431 tumors. NIR-PIT with 100 J/cm, the same light dose used in clinical trials of NIR-PIT, was applied after insertion of the diffuser within the tumor bed, and then both bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging were analyzed to assess the therapeutic efficacy. The diffuser can deliver adequate NIR light dose for effective NIR-PIT to the A431 tumor at a distance of approximately 1 cm around the light source at 100 J/cm. At 50 J/cm NIR light effective NIR-PIT was reduced to a distance of 5-7 mm diameter around the light source. These results indicate that the energy of interstitial light (measured in Joules/cm) administered via a fiber diffuser determines the depth of effective NIRPIT around the diffuser and determines the spacing at which such diffusers should be placed to entirely cover the tumor. Thermal measurements demonstrate that interstitial light for NIR-PIT does not cause damage to the skin overlying the diffuser.
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