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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 5407012, 10 pages
Research Article

Susceptibility of In Vitro Melanoma Skin Cancer to Photoactivated Hypericin versus Aluminium(III) Phthalocyanine Chloride Tetrasulphonate

Laser Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein 2028, South Africa

Correspondence should be addressed to H. Abrahamse;

Received 13 December 2016; Revised 5 July 2017; Accepted 9 August 2017; Published 25 September 2017

Academic Editor: Xin-yuan Guan

Copyright © 2017 I. M. Ndhundhuma and H. Abrahamse. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The sensitivity of human melanoma cells to photoactivated Hypericin (Hyp) compared to aluminium(III) phthalocyanine chloride tetrasulphonate (AlPcS4Cl) is reported in this study. Melanoma cells (A375 cell line) were treated with various concentrations of Hyp or AlPcS4Cl alone, for 1, 4, and 24 hrs; varying doses of laser irradiation alone (594 or 682 nm); or optimal concentrations of PSs combined with laser irradiation. Changes in cell morphology, viability, membrane integrity, and proliferation after treatment of cells were determined using inverted microscopy, Trypan blue cell exclusion, Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH) membrane integrity, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) cell proliferation assay, respectively. More than 60% of cell survival was observed when cells were treated with 2.5 μM of Hyp or AlPcS4Cl alone at all incubation times or with 5 J/cm2 of 594 or 682 nm laser alone. Combination of PSs and respective lasers leads to a statistically significant incubation time-dependent decrease in survival of cells. Flow cytometry using the FITC Annexin V/PI apoptosis kit demonstrated that cell death induced after Hyp-PDT is via early and late apoptosis whereas early apoptosis was the main mechanism observed with AlPcS4Cl-PDT. Hyp-PDT compared to AlPcS4Cl-PDT is indicated to be a more effective cancer cell death inducer in melanoma cells.