Color doppler ultrasound and gamma imaging of intratumorally injected 500 nm iron-silica nanoshells

Alexander Liberman, Zhe Wu, Christopher V. Barback, Robert Viveros, Sarah L. Blair, Lesley G. Ellies, David R. Vera, Robert F. Mattrey, Andrew C. Kummel, William C. Trogler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Perfluoropentane gas filled iron-silica nanoshells have been developed as stationary ultrasound contrast agents for marking tumors to guide surgical resection. It is critical to establish their long-term imaging efficacy, as well as biodistribution. This work shows that 500 nm Fe-SiO2 nanoshells can be imaged by color Doppler ultrasound over the course of 10 days in Py8119 tumor bearing mice. The 500 nm nonbiodegradable SiO2 and biodegradable Fe-SiO2 nanoshells were functionalized with diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA) ligand and radiolabeled with 111In3+ for biodistribution studies in nu/nu mice. The majority of radioactivity was detected in the liver and kidneys following intravenous (IV) administration of nanoshells to healthy animals. By contrast, after nanoshells were injected intratumorally, most of the radioactivity remained at the injection site; however, some nanoshells escaped into circulation and were distributed similarly as those given intravenously. For intratumoral delivery of nanoshells and IV delivery to healthy animals, little difference was seen between the biodistribution of SiO2 and biodegradable Fe-SiO2 nanoshells. However, when nanoshells were administered IV to tumor bearing mice, a significant increase was observed in liver accumulation of SiO2 nanoshells relative to biodegradable Fe-SiO2 nanoshells. Both SiO2 and Fe-SiO2 nanoshells accumulate passively in proportion to tumor mass, during intravenous delivery of nanoshells. This is the first report of the biodistribution following intratumoral injection of any biodegradable silica particle, as well as the first report demonstrating the utility of DTPA-111In labeling for studying silica nanoparticle biodistributions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6367-6377
Number of pages11
JournalACS Nano
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 23 2013


  • biodistribution
  • nanoparticles
  • scintigraphy
  • silica
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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