Radiation-resistant hypoxic tumor areas continue to present a major limitation for successful tumor treatment. To overcome this radiation resistance, an oxygen-independent treatment is proposed using UVC-emitting LuPO4:Pr3+ nanoparticles (NPs) and X rays. The uptake of the NPs as well as their effect on cell proliferation was investigated on A549 lung cancer cells by using inverted time-lapse microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Furthermore, cytotoxicity of the combined treatment of X rays and LuPO4:Pr3+ NPs was assessed under normoxic and hypoxic conditions using the colony formation assay. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images showed no NP uptake after 3 h, whereas after 24 h incubation an uptake of NPs was documented. LuPO4:Pr3+ NPs alone caused a concentration-independent cell growth delay within the first 60 h of incubation. The combined treatment with UVC-emitting NPs and X rays reduced the radiation resistance of hypoxic cells by a factor of two to the level of cells under normoxic condition. LuPO4:Pr3+ NPs cause an early growth delay but no cytotoxicity for the tested concentration. The combination of these NPs with X rays increases cytotoxicity of normoxic and hypoxic cancer cells. Hypoxic cells become sensitized to normoxic cell levels.
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Vol. 193 • No. 1