Potential use of Radiolabelled Porphyrins for Tumor Scanning

  • R. A. Thaller
  • D. M. Lyster
  • D. Dolphin
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 160)


The selective biodistribution of metal-free porphyrins was first noted by Policard in 1924 based on the observation of a “spontaneous appearance” of fluorescence in tumors. It was then shown (Auler and Banzer, 1942; Figge, 1945) that parenteral administration of several naturally occurring porphyrins including hematoporphyrin (HP) [1], protoporphyrin [2], mesoporphyrin [3] and the zinc complex of [1] resulted in an accumulation of these porphyrins in subcutaneous sarcomas causing the tumor to fluoresce an orange-red color under ultra-violet irradiation. In addition, other nontumor sites including injury sites, placenta, developing embryos and lymph nodes (Manganiello et al., 1951) accumulated some porphyrin. Another more detailed study showed that metalloporphyrins were taken up by tumors (Peck et al. 1953). The first clinical study using HP [1] by Peck et al. in 1953 showed no tumor uptake. Injected doses were kept low (less than 120 mg/patient) due to the reported toxicity of the drug (Meyer-Betz, 1913).


Tumor Uptake Butyl Ester Good Uptake Endogenous Porphyrin Scanning Agent 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Thaller
    • 1
  • D. M. Lyster
    • 1
  • D. Dolphin
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Nuclear Medicine, Vancouver General Hospital and Department of PharmacyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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