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Anti-Cancer Gold Nanoparticle Conjugates: Endocrine Targeted Treatment Strategies and Laser Photothermal Therapy

E.C. Dreaden, E.B. Dickerson, I.H. El-Sayed, X. Huang, J.F. McDonald, A.K. Oyelere, M.A. El-Sayed
Georgia Institute of Technology, US

Keywords: gold, estrogen receptor, androgen receptor, breast cancer, prostate cancer, nanorod, photothermal therapy, laser, endocrine, nanoparticle, plasmon


Herein, we present recent progress by our laboratory exploring preclinical applications of gold nanoparticles as multifunctional agents for targeted anti-cancer drug delivery and laser photothermal therapy. Specifically, we will discuss the use of small-molecule hormone receptor antagonists as combined targeting/therapeutic agents for breast and prostate cancer treatment, as well as results from the first in vivo study demonstrating the efficacy of near-infrared laser photothermal cancer therapy using plasmonic gold nanorods. In the former, we show that the anti-estrogen tamoxifen and the anti-androgen nilutamide can be used to selectively target and deliver gold nanoparticles to hormone receptor-positive breast and prostate cancer cells, respectively, both with >10^4 fold enhanced potency over their respective free drugs. In both cases, uptake was observed to occur in a receptor-dependent fashion, presenting opportunities for the co-delivery of other chemotherapeutics, adjunctive laser photothermal therapy, and/or high-z enhanced radiation therapy. In the latter, we demonstrate the feasibility of in vivo near-infrared laser photothermal therapy using passive targeting of PEGylated gold nanorods. Tumor growth inhibition was observed following both iv and direct administration of the nanoconjugates and a single 10 min laser exposure. Resorption of >57% of the directly-injected tumors and 25% of the intravenously-treated tumors was shown over a 13-day period.
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