In vivo molecular photoacoustic tomography of melanomas targeted by bioconjugated gold nanocages

Chulhong Kim, Eun Chul Cho, Jingyi Chen, Kwang Hyun Song, Leslie Au, Christopher Favazza, Qiang Zhang, Claire M. Cobley, Feng Gao, Younan Xia, Lihong V. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

421 Scopus citations


Early diagnosis, accurate staging, and image-guided resection of melanomas remain crucial clinical objectives for improving patient survival and treatment outcomes. Conventional techniques cannot meet this demand because of the low sensitivity, low specificity, poor spatial resolution, shallow penetration, and/or ionizing radiation. Here we overcome such limitations by combining high-resolution photoacoustic tomography (PAT) with extraordinarily optical absorbing gold nanocages (AuNCs). When bioconjugated with [Nle 4,D-Phe7]-a-melanocyte-stimulating hormone, the AuNCs can serve as a novel contrast agent for in vivo molecular PAT of melanomas with both exquisite sensitivity and high specificity. The bioconjugated AuNCs enhanced contrast - 300% more than the control, PEGylated AuNCs. The in vivo PAT quantification of the amount of AuNCs accumulated in melanomas was further validated with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4559-4564
Number of pages6
JournalACS Nano
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 24 2010


  • Bioconjugation
  • Gold nanocages
  • Melanoma
  • Molecular imaging
  • Photoacoustic tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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