Multifunctional gold nanostar conjugates for tumor imaging and combined photothermal and chemo-therapy

Haiyan Chen, Xin Zhang, Shuhang Dai, Yuxiang Ma, Sisi Cui, Samuel Achilefu, Yueqing Gu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


Uniform gold nanostars (Au NS) were conjugated with cyclic RGD (cRGD) and near infrared (NIR) fluorescence probe (MPA) or anti-cancer drug (DOX) to obtain multi-functional nano-constructs, Au-cRGD-MPA and Au-cRGD-DOX respectively. The NIR contrast agent Au-cRGD-MPA was shown to have low cytotoxicity. Using tumor cells and tumor bearing mice, these imaging nanoparticles demonstrated favorable tumor-targeting capability mediated by RGD peptide binding to its over-expressed receptor on the tumor cells. The multi-therapeutic analogue, Au-cRGD-DOX, integrates targeting tumor, chemotherapy and photo-thermotherapy into a single system. The synergistic effect of photo-thermal therapy and chemotherapy was demonstrated in different tumor cell lines and in vivo using S180 tumor-bearing mouse models. The viability of MDA-MB-231 cells was only 40 % after incubation with Au-cRGD-DOX and irradiation with NIR light. Both tail vein and intratumoral injections showed Au-cRGD-DOX treated mice exhibiting the slowest tumor increase. These results indicate that the multifunctional nanocon-struct is a promising combined therapeutic agent for tumor-targeting treatment, with the potential to enhance the anti-cancer treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-649
Number of pages17
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Gold nanostar
  • Near infrared imaging
  • Photo-thermal therapy
  • RGD receptor
  • Tumor-targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Multifunctional gold nanostar conjugates for tumor imaging and combined photothermal and chemo-therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this