To understand the effects of substitution patterns on photosensitizing the ability of boron dipyrromethene (BODIPY), two structural variations that either investigate the effectiveness of various iodinated derivatives to maximize the "heavy atom effect" or focus on the effect of extended conjugation at the 4-pyrrolic position to red-shift their activation wavelengths were investigated. Compounds with conjugation at the 4-pyrrolic position were less photocytotoxic than the parent unconjugated compound, while those with an iodinated BODIPY core presented better photocytotoxicity than compounds with iodoaryl groups at the meso-positions. The potency of the derivatives generally correlated well with their singlet oxygen generation level. Further studies of compound 5 on HSC-2 cells showed almost exclusive localization to mitochondria, induction of G(2)/M-phase cell cycle block, and onset of apoptosis. Compound 5 also extensively occluded the vasculature of the chick chorioallantoic membrane. Iodinated BODIPY structures such as compound 5 may have potential as new photodynamic therapy agents for cancer.