Abstract The Photofrin-resistant cell line (HT29-P14) was used in the present study to investigate the mechanism(s) involved in Photofrin-mediated photodynamic therapy (PDT). We compared gene expression profiles between the resistant cell line and its parental cell line (HT29) using DNA microarray analysis. A significant up-regulation of small heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) was found in HT29-P14 cells. The elevated Hsp27 level may play an important role in the resistance of HT29-P14 to Photofrin-PDT. To test this hypothesis, we stably transfected HT29 cells with human Hsp27 complementary DNA. The potential role of Hsp27 in the resistance to PDT was examined in Hsp27-overexpressing cells. Stable trasnfected cells (H13) showed an increased survival after Photofrin-PDT, suggesting that the up-regulation of Hsp27 is related to the induced resistance to Photofrin-PDT. Phosphorylation of Hsp27 has been suggested to play an important role in cytoprotection. We have examined the phosphorylation activity of Hsp27 among the parental and resistant cells, as well as the overexpression cells. An elevated level of Hsp27 resulted in an increased ability of phosphorylation in both resistant and overexpressing cells after PDT. The activation of the phosphorylation of Hsp27 induced by PDT was not mediated by the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase. These data suggest that Hsp27 may play an important role in mediating the adaptive response to Photofrin-PDT–induced oxidative stress and that the pathways leading to Hsp27 phosphorylation may contribute to the resistance of the cells to photooxidative damage.