JOURNAL ARTICLE

PEGylated hydrazided gold nanorods for pH-triggered chemo/photodynamic/photothermal triple therapy of breast cancer

Weijun Xu, Junmin Qian, Guanghui Hou, Yaping Wang, Jinlei Wang, Tiantian Sun, Lijie Ji, Aili Suo, Yu Yao
Acta Biomaterialia 2018 October 15
30336271
Integration of multimodal therapies into one nanoplatform holds great promise to overcome the drawbacks of conventional single-modal therapy and pursues enhanced anticancer efficacy. Herein, we developed a PEGylated gold nanorods (GNRs)-based nanoplatform (GNRs-MPH-ALA/DOX -PEG) with pH-responsive drug release property for triple-combined chemotherapy (CT), photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photothermal therapy (PTT) of breast cancer. GNRs were first decorated with mercaptopropionylhydrazide (MPH) and thiol-terminated monomethoxyl poly(ethylene glycol) (mPEG-SH) via Au-thiol linkage, and subsequently conjugated with chemotherapeutant doxorubicin (DOX) and pro-photosensitizer 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) through acid-liable hydrazone bonds between drugs and MPH molecules. The resulting nanoplatform GNRs-MPH-ALA/DOX -PEG exhibited excellent stability in physiological solutions and pH-responsive DOX and ALA release behaviors. In vitro studies showed that GNRs-MPH-ALA/DOX -PEG could efficiently enter human breast cancer MCF-7 cells and release DOX and ALA into cytoplasm. Furthermore, DOX could locate in the cell nucleus and ALA was productively metabolized into protoporphyrin IX (PpIX). Upon near-infrared (NIR) irradiation, PpIX produced enough reactive oxygen species for PDT and meanwhile GNRs could efficiently induce hyperthermia for PTT. Compared with single CT and dual-modal CT/PDT or CT/PTT treatment, the triple-combined CT/PDT/PTT treatment could more efficiently kill MCF-7 cells via a superadditive antitumor effect. Furthermore, the circulation half-life of GNRs-MPH-ALA/DOX -PEG in the blood was as long as approximately 52 min and it exhibited a tumor accumulation of 3.3%. The triple-combined CT/PDT/PTT treatment could completely suppress tumor growth without obvious systemic toxicity. Our study paves a new avenue for multimodal therapy of breast cancer. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: The development of a simple but effective strategy to construct a versatile nanoplatform for multi-combined therapy still remains an enormous challenge. In this work, we developed a novel and simple nanoplatform GNRs-MPH-ALA/DOX -PEG with pH-responsive drug release for triple-combined chemotherapy (CT), photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photothermal therapy (PTT) of breast cancer. The nanoplatform could be efficiently internalized by MCF-7 cells. The intracellular GNRs-MPH-ALA/DOX -PEG could release DOX for CT, induce hyperthermia for PTT and generate high levels of ROS for PTT. Compared with single CT and dual-modal CT/PDT or CT/PTT treatments, the triple-combined CT/PDT/PTT treatment could more efficiently kill MCF-7 cells via a superadditive antitumor effect. Furthermore, upon triple-combined CT/PDT/PTT treatment, the tumor growth was completely suppressed without obvious systemic toxicity.

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