5-Aminolevulinic acid (ALA) is a photosensitizer used in photodynamic therapy (PDT) because it causes preferential accumulation of protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) in tumor cells, where it forms singlet oxygen upon light irradiation and kills the tumor cells. Our previous study demonstrated that PpIX enhances generation of reactive oxygen species by physicochemical interaction with X-rays. We investigated the effect of ALA administration with X-ray irradiation of mouse B16-BL6 melanoma cells in vitro and in vivo. ALA facilitates PpIX accumulation in tumor cells and enhances ROS generation in vitro. Tumor suppression significantly improved in animals treated with fractionated doses of radiation (3 Gy × 10; total, 30 Gy) with local administration of 50 mg/kg ALA at 24 h prior to fractional irradiation. These results suggest ALA may improve the efficacy of cancer radiotherapy by acting as a radiomediator.
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