A multifunctional targeted nanoprobe with high NIR-II PAI/MRI performance for precise theranostics of orthotopic early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma

Linyun He, Yachao Zhang, Jiangbo Chen, Gongyuan Liu, Jingyi Zhu, Xiaozhen Li, Dengfeng Li, Yuqi Yang, Chun Sing Lee, Jiahai Shi, Chao Yin, Puxiang Lai (Corresponding Author), Lidai Wang, Chihua Fang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Early diagnosis and effective treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is quite critical for improving patients' prognosis. The combination of second near-infrared window photoacoustic imaging (NIR-II PAI) and T2-magnetic resonance imaging (T2-MRI) is promising for achieving omnibearing information on HCC diagnosis due to the complementary advantages of outstanding optical contrast, high temporospatial resolution and soft-tissue resolution. Thus, the rational design of a multifunctional targeted nanoplatform with outstanding performance in dual-modal NIR-II PAI/T2-MRI is particularly valuable for precise diagnosis and imaging-guided non-invasive photothermal therapy (PTT) of early-stage HCC. Herein, a versatile targeted organic-inorganic hybrid nanoprobe was synthesized as a HCC-specific contrast agent for sensitive and efficient theranostics. The developed multifunctional targeted nanoprobe yielded superior HCC specificity, reliable stability and biocompatibility, high imaging contrast in both NIR-II PAI and T2-MRI, and an excellent photothermal conversion efficiency (74.6%). Furthermore, the theranostic efficiency of the targeted nanoprobe was systematically investigated using the orthotopic early HCC-bearing mice model. The NIR-II PAI exhibited sensitive detection of ultra-small HCCs (diameter less than 1.8 mm) and long-term real-time monitoring of the tumor and nanoprobe targeting process in deep tissues. The T2-MRI demonstrated clear imaging contrast and a spatial relationship between micro-HCC and adjacent structures for a comprehensive description of the tumor. Moreover, when using the targeted nanoprobe, the non-invasively targeted PTT of orthotopic early HCC was carried out under reliable dual-modal imaging guidance with remarkable anti-tumor efficiency and biosafety. This study provides an insight for constructing a multifunctional targeted nanoplatform for precise and comprehensive theranostics of early-stage HCC, which would greatly benefit the patients in the era of precision medicine. This journal is

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8779-8792
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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