Dual-targeted near-infrared photoimmunotherapy for esophageal cancer and cancer-associated fibroblasts in the tumor microenvironment

Hiroaki Sato, Kazuhiro Noma, Toshiaki Ohara, Kento Kawasaki, Masaaki Akai, Teruki Kobayashi, Noriyuki Nishiwaki, Toru Narusaka, Satoshi Komoto, Hajime Kashima, Yuki Katsura, Takuya Kato, Satoru Kikuchi, Hiroshi Tazawa, Shunsuke Kagawa, Yasuhiro Shirakawa, Hisataka Kobayashi, Toshiyoshi Fujiwara

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play a significant role in tumor progression within the tumor microenvironment. Previously, we used near-infrared photoimmunotherapy (NIR-PIT), a next-generation cancer cell-targeted phototherapy, to establish CAF-targeted NIR-PIT. In this study, we investigated whether dual-targeted NIR-PIT, targeting cancer cells and CAFs, could be a therapeutic strategy. A total of 132 cases of esophageal cancer were analyzed for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2), and fibroblast activation protein (FAP) expression using immunohistochemistry. Human esophageal cancer cells and CAFs were co-cultured and treated with single- or dual-targeted NIR-PIT in vitro. These cells were co-inoculated into BALB/c-nu/nu mice and the tumors were treated with single-targeted NIR-PIT or dual-targeted NIR-PIT in vivo. Survival analysis showed FAP- or EGFR-high patients had worse survival than patients with low expression of FAP or EGFR (log-rank, P < 0.001 and P = 0.074, respectively), while no difference was observed in HER2 status. In vitro, dual (EGFR/FAP)-targeted NIR-PIT induced specific therapeutic effects in cancer cells and CAFs along with suppressing tumor growth in vivo, whereas single-targeted NIR-PIT did not show any significance. Moreover, these experiments demonstrated that dual-targeted NIR-PIT could treat cancer cells and CAFs simultaneously with a single NIR light irradiation. We demonstrated the relationship between EGFR/FAP expression and prognosis of patients with esophageal cancer and the stronger therapeutic effect of dual-targeted NIR-PIT than single-targeted NIR-PIT in experimental models. Thus, dual-targeted NIR-PIT might be a promising therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20152
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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