Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications vol:337 issue:3 pages:928-35
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an established anticancer modality and hypericin is a promising photosensitizer for the treatment of bladder tumors. We show that exposure of bladder cancer cells to hypericin PDT leads to a rapid rise in the cytosolic calcium concentration which is followed by the generation of arachidonic acid by phospholipase A2 (PLA2). PLA2 inhibition significantly protects cells from the PDT-induced intrinsic apoptosis and attenuates the activation of p38 MAPK, a survival signal mediating the up-regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 that converts arachidonic acid into prostanoids. Importantly, inhibition of p38alpha MAPK blocks the release of vascular endothelial growth factor and suppresses tumor-promoted endothelial cell migration, a key step in angiogenesis. Hence, targeted inhibition of p38alpha MAPK could be therapeutically beneficial to PDT, since it would prevent COX-2 expression, the inducible release of growth and angiogenic factors by the cancer cells, and cause an increase in the levels of free arachidonic acid, which promotes apoptosis.