Effects of Supplemental Drugs on Hexaminolevulinate (HAL)-Induced PpIX Fluorescence in Bladder Cancer Cell Suspensions

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Seven different inhibitors of the heme metabolic pathway were applied in combination with HAL to study the formation of PpIX in bladder cancer HT1197 and normal fibroblast HFFF2 cells ex vivo, specifically with the aim to increase the fluorescence contrast between cancer and non-cancer cells. The mRNA expression of enzymes involved in the heme biosynthesis pathway were measured via PCR following incubation with the drugs in order to link the fluorescence levels and metabolic activity. The exogenous administration of HAL does lead to cancer-specific PpIX accumulation. However, the contrast between cancer and normal cells in suspension was not enhanced by the enzyme inhibitors and iron-chelating agents tested, nor did the mRNA expression necessarily correlate with the fluorescence intensity. The results indicate that a difference in the metabolic activity of cells in suspension may limit the applicability of exogenous enzyme inhibitor administration as a mean to improve the fluorescence-based detection of cancer cells shed in body fluids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7631
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2022


  • ABCG2
  • bladder cancer
  • FECH
  • fluorescence
  • hexaminolevulinate
  • iron chelation
  • PPOX
  • protoporphyrin IX


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