Gold nanorods carrying paclitaxel for photothermal-chemotherapy of cancer


Nanotechnology-based photothermal therapy has emerged as a promising treatment for cancer during the past decade. However, heterogeneous laser heating and limited light penetration can lead to incomplete tumor cell eradication. Here, we developed a method to overcome these limitations by combining chemotherapy with photothermal therapy using paclitaxel-loaded gold nanorods. Paclitaxel was loaded to gold nanorods with high density (2.0 × 104 paclitaxel per gold nanorod) via nonspecific adsorption, followed by stabilization with poly(ethylene glycol) linked with 11-mercaptoundecanoic acid. Paclitaxel was entrapped in the hydrophobic pocket of the polymeric monolayer on the surface of gold nanorods, which allows direct cellular delivery of the hydrophobic drugs via the lipophilic plasma membrane. Highly efficient drug release was demonstrated in a cell membrane mimicking two-phase solution. Combined photothermal therapy and chemotherapy with the paclitaxel-loaded gold nanorods was shown to be highly effective in killing head and neck cancer cells and lung cancer cells, superior to photothermal therapy or chemotherapy alone due to a synergistic effect. The paclitaxel-gold nanorod enabled photothermal chemotherapy has the potential of preventing tumor reoccurrence and metastasis and may have an important impact on the treatment of head and neck cancer and other malignancies in the clinic. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

Publication Title

Bioconjugate Chemistry