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Hexaphyrin as a Potential Theranostic Dye for Photothermal Therapy and 19F Magnetic Resonance Imaging



meso-Aryl substituted expanded porphyrins have two potential key features suitable for theranostic agents, excellent absorption in near infrared (NIR) region and possible introduction of multiple fluorine atoms at structurally nearly equivalent positions. Herein, hexaphyrin (hexa) was synthesized using 2,6-bis(trifluoromethyl)-4-formyl benzoate and pyrrole and evaluated as a novel theranostic expanded porphyrin possessing the above key features. Under NIR light illumination hexa showed intense photothermal and weak photodynamic effects, which were most likely due to its low-lying excited states close to a singlet oxygen. This sustained photothermal effect caused the ablation of cancer cells more effectively than the photodynamic effect of indocyanine green, a clinically used dye. In addition, hexa@cpHDL revealed potential for use in visualization of tumors by 19F magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) due to the presence of the multiple fluorine atoms. These results shed light on a latent utility of expanded porphyrins as theranostic agents in both photothermal therapy and 19F MRI.