Multifunctional nanotheranostic gold nanocage/ selenium core-shell for pai-guided chemo-photothermal synergistic therapy in vivo

Xueyang Fang, Kwok Ho Lui, Shiying Li, Wai Sum Lo, Xin Li, Yanjuan Gu, Wing Tak Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Cancer theragnosis involving cancer diagnosis and targeted therapy simultaneously in one integrated system would be a promising solution of cancer treatment. Herein, a convenient and practical cancer theragnosis agent was constructed by combining gold nano-cages (AuNCs) covered with selenium and a chitosan (CS) shell (AuNCs/Se) to incorporate the anti-cancer drug doxorubicin (DOX) as a multifunctional targeting nanocomposite (AuNCs/ DOX@Se-iRGD) for photoacoustic imaging (PAI)-guided chemo-photothermal synergistic therapy that contributes to enhanced anti-cancer efficacy. The novel design of AuNCs/ DOX@Se-iRGD gives the nanocomposite two outstanding properties: (1) AuNCs, with excellent LSPR property in the NIR region, act as a contrast agent for enhanced PAI and photothermal therapy (PTT); (2) Se acts as an anti-cancer nanoagent and drug delivery cargo. Methods: The photothermal performance of these nanocomposites was evaluated in different concentrations with laser powder densities. These nanocomposites were also incubated in pH 5.3, 6.5, 7.4 PBS and NIR laser to study their drug release ability. The cellular uptake was studied by measuring the Se and Au concentrations inside the cells using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Besides, in vitro and in vivo anti-tumor activity were carried out by cytotoxicity assay MTT and tumor model nude mice, respectively. As for imaging, the PA value and images of these nanocomposites accumulated in the tumor site were sequentially collected at specific time points for 48 h. Results and Discussion: The prepared AuNCs/DOX@Se-iRGD showed excellent biocom-patibility and physiological stability in different media. In vivo results indicated that the targeting nanocomposite presented the strongest contrast-enhanced PAI signals, which could provide contour and location information of tumor, 24 h after intravenous injection. Likewise, the combined treatment of chemo-and photothermal synergistic therapy significantly inhibited tumor growth when compared with the two treatments carried out separately and showed negligible acute toxicity to the major organs. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that AuNCs/DOX@Se-iRGD has great prospect to become a multifunctional anti-tumor nanosystem for PAI-guided chemo-and photothermal synergistic therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10271-10284
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Nanomedicine
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2020


  • Gold nanocage
  • Nanocomposites
  • NIR
  • PA imaging
  • Synergistic therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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