Hypericin as a marker for determination of tissue viability after radiofrequency ablation in a murine liver tumor model
- Marie Van de Putte
- Huaijun Wang
- Feng Chen
- Peter A.M. De Witte
- Yicheng Ni
Published online on: April 1, 2008
In this proof-of-principle study, the necrosis avid agent hypericin was investigated as a potential indicator for early therapeutic response following radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of murine liver tumors. Eight mice bearing intrahepatic RIF-1 tumors were intravenously injected with hypericin 1 h before or 24 h after RFA treatment. Mice were euthanized 24 h after hypericin injection and excised livers were investigated by means of fluoromacroscopic and fluoromicroscopic examinations in combination with conventional histomorphology. Significant differences in hypericin fluorescence were found in necrosis, viable tumor and normal liver tissue in a decreasing order: in necrosis, mean fluorescence densities were about 5 times higher than in viable tumor and approximately 12 times higher than in normal liver (p<0.05). Mean fluorescence densities were not significantly different when hypericin was injected 24 h after or 1 h before RFA treatment (p>0.05). As a conclusion, hypericin features the property to specifically enhance the imaging contrast between necrotic and viable tissues and to non-specifically distinguish viable tumor from normal liver. The results suggest that hypericin offers significant potential in the early assessment of response following necrosis-inducing antineoplastic treatments such as RFA.