Recent Advances in Cyanine-Based Phototherapy Agents

Kubra Bilici, Sultan Cetin, Eda Aydındogan, Havva Yagci Acar*, Safacan Kolemen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Phototherapies, in the form of photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photothermal therapy (PTT), are very promising treatment modalities for cancer since they provide locality and turn-on mechanism for toxicity, both of which are critical in reducing off-site toxicity. Irradiation of photosensitive agents demonstrated successful therapeutic outcomes; however, each approach has its limitations and needs to be improved for clinical success. The combination of PTT and PDT may work in a synergistic way to overcome the limitations of each method and indeed improve the treatment efficacy. The development of single photosensitive agents capable of inducing both PDT and PTT is, therefore, extremely advantageous and highly desired. Cyanine dyes are shown to have such potential, hence have been very popular in the recent years. Luminescence of cyanine dyes renders them as phototheranostic molecules, reporting the localization of the photosensitive agent prior to irradiation to induce phototoxicity, hence allowing image-guided phototherapy. In this review, we mainly focus on the cyanine dye–based phototherapy of different cancer cells, concentrating on the advancements achieved in the last ten years.

Original languageEnglish
Article number707876
JournalFrontiers in Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Bilici, Cetin, Aydındogan, Yagci Acar and Kolemen.


  • cancer
  • cyanine
  • photodynamic therapy
  • photothemal therapy
  • synergistic therapy


Dive into the research topics of 'Recent Advances in Cyanine-Based Phototherapy Agents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this