Hypericin in phototherapy.
J Ethnopharmacol. 1990 Oct;30(3):295-300. PMID: 9002247
We describe the first local use of hypericin as photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy in a patient with recurrent malignant mesothelioma. Hypericin is a polycyclic quinone, which has been shown to possess in vivo and in vitro antiretroviral and photosensitizing activity; moreover, it is used in depressive disorders. The semiquinone radical, singlet oxygen, and superoxide anion radical are reported to be the toxic agents in hypericin phototherapy. Our first experience with locally applied hypericin in a superficial tumor-plate was performed 8 weeks after the systemic administration of hematoporphyrin derivatives. For tumor light illumination we used an argon pumped dye laser tuned to 632 nm. Owing to satisfactory results, we repeated the same therapy 4 weeks later- and no therapeutic effect was noted. Following this, we proved the interstitial application of HPD and the combination of interstitial HDP and superficially applied hypericin. The subsequent light illumination 6 hours later had no efficacy in the HDP-photosensitized area but there was tumor destruction in the field with both administered photosensitizers. Our first experience suggests a potentiation of two photosensitizers: hematoporphyrin derivatives and hypericin.