Theranostics 2016; 6(13):2329-2336. doi:10.7150/thno.15701

Research Paper

Sphingomyelin Liposomes Containing Porphyrin-phospholipid for Irinotecan Chemophototherapy

Kevin A Carter1, Dandan Luo1, Aida Razi2, Jumin Geng1, Shuai Shao1, Joaquin Ortega2, Jonathan F Lovell1✉

1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, 14260.
2. Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and M. G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Diseases Research, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S4L8, Canada.

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Carter KA, Luo D, Razi A, Geng J, Shao S, Ortega J, Lovell JF. Sphingomyelin Liposomes Containing Porphyrin-phospholipid for Irinotecan Chemophototherapy. Theranostics 2016; 6(13):2329-2336. doi:10.7150/thno.15701. Available from

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Porphyrin-phospholipid (PoP) liposomes can entrap anti-cancer agents and release them in response to near infrared (NIR) light. Doxorubicin, when remotely loaded via an ammonium sulfate gradient at a high drug-to-lipid ratio, formed elongated crystals that altered liposome morphology and could not be loaded into liposomes with higher PoP content. On the other hand, irinotecan could also be remotely loaded but did not form large crystals and did not induce liposome elongation. The loading, stability, and NIR light-triggered release of irinotecan in PoP liposomes was altered by the types of lipids used and the presence of PEGylation. Sphingomyelin, which has been explored previously for liposomal irinotecan, was found to produce liposomes with relatively improved serum stability and rapid NIR light-triggered drug release. PoP liposomes composed from sphingomyelin, cholesterol and 2 molar percent PoP rapidly released irinotecan in vivo in response to NIR irradiation as monitored by intravital microscopy and also induced effective tumor eradication in mice bearing MIA Paca-2 subcutaneous tumor xenografts.

Keywords: liposomes, chemophototherapy, irinotecan