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Let There Be Light: Can Blue Light Exposure With Cisplatin Treat Skin Cancer?

By: Hope Craig, MSPH
Posted: Wednesday, May 12, 2021

According to research published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, blue light combined with cisplatin may prove to be an effective way to manage cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Although light combined with cisplatin has been reported to be active against skin cancer, researchers at the Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy, investigated the effects of specific radiations and cisplatin on cell lines and cultures.

Using normal keratinocytes (HaCaT) and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma cells (A431), cultured under the same conditions, Massimo Bracci, MD, PhD, and colleagues assessed the effects of light-emitting diode (LED) spectra and cisplatin, used alone or in combination on cell lines and cultures. Samples were exposed to constant darkness, blue light LEDs, or red single-color LEDs in a specific incubator at 37˚C and 5% CO2 for 3 days. Following light exposure, each group was divided into two subgroups: those treated or not treated with the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of cisplatin for 24 hours at 37˚C and 5% of CO2.

“The present data suggested that blue light can enhance the cytotoxic effects of cisplatinum on A431 cells, exerting a more prominent effect on apoptosis when used in combination. It was also observed that cells were more sensitive to blue light exposure alone, as compared to red light exposure alone, suggesting that the blue light is more cytotoxic than the red one,” the authors wrote.

The authors proposed that this relationship may be related to the tumorigenic features of A431 cells, as HaCaT nontumorigenic cell lines cells were otherwise sensitive to red light combined with cisplatin. Further in vivo tests and clinical trials are needed to assess the combination of blue light radiation followed by cisplatin as a potential treatment for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.

Disclosure: The authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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