Combined photothermal-chemotherapy of breast cancer by near infrared light responsive hyaluronic acid-decorated nanostructured lipid carriers

Shaohui Zheng, Van Du Nguyen, Seung Yoon Song, Jiwon Han, Jong-Oh Park
Nanotechnology 2017 October 27, 28 (43): 435102
In this study, a novel type of hyaluronic acid (HA)-decorated nanostructured lipid carrier (NLC) was prepared and investigated as a light-triggered drug release and combined photothermal-chemotherapy for cancer treatment. Polyhedral gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) with an average size of 10 nm were synthesized and co-encapsulated with doxorubicin (DOX) in the matrix of NLCs with a high drug loading efficiency (above 80%). HA decoration was achieved by the electrostatic interaction between HA and CTAB on the NLC surface. A remarkable temperature increase was observed by exposing the Au NP-loaded NLCs to an NIR laser, which heated the samples sufficiently (above 40 °C) to kill tumor cells. The entrapped DOX exhibited a sustained, stepwise NIR laser-triggered drug release pattern. The biocompatibility of the NLCs was investigated by MTT assay and the cell viability was maintained above 85%, even at high concentrations. The intracellular uptake of free DOX and entrapped DOX, observed by confocal microscopy, revealed two distinct uptake mechanisms, i.e. passive diffusion and endocytosis, respectively. In particular, internalization of the HA-Au-DOX-NLCs was more extensively enhanced than the Au-DOX-NLCs, which was attributed to HA-CD44 receptor-mediated endocytosis. Meanwhile, the internalized NLCs successfully escaped from the lysosomes, increasing the intracellular DOX. The HA-Au-DOX-NLCs IC50 value decreased from 2.3 to 0.6 μg ml-1 with NIR irradiation at 72 h, indicating the excellent synergistic antitumor effect of photothermal-chemotherapy. The photothermal ablation was further confirmed by a live/dead cell staining assay. Thus, a combined photothermal-chemotherapy approach has been proposed as a promising strategy for cancer treatment.

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