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Selective inhibition of liver cancer growth realized by the intrinsic toxicity of a quantum dot–lipid complex

Authors Shao D, Li J, Guan F, Pan Y, Xiao X, Zhang M, Zhang H, Chen L

Received 25 August 2014

Accepted for publication 4 October 2014

Published 8 December 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 5753—5769

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S73185

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas J Webster

Dan Shao,1,* Jing Li,1,* Fengying Guan,1 Yue Pan,1 Xuanang Xiao,1 Ming Zhang,1 Hong Zhang,2 Li Chen1,3

1Department of Pharmacology, College of Basic Medical Sciences, Jilin University, Changchun, People’s Republic of China; 2Van’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; 3School of Nursing, Jilin University, Changchun, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Using the intrinsic toxicity of nanomaterials for anticancer therapy is an emerging concept. In this work, we discovered that CdTe/CdS quantum dots, when coated with lipids (QD-LC) instead of popular liposomes, polymers, or dendrimers, demonstrated extraordinarily high specificity for cancer cells, which was due to the difference in the macropinocytosis uptake pathways of QD-LC between the cancer cells and the normal cells. QD-LC-induced HepG2 cell apoptosis was concomitant with the activation of the JNK/caspase-3 signaling pathway. Moreover, QD-LC treatment resulted in a delay in the latent period for microtumor formation of mouse hepatocarcinoma H22 cells and inhibited tumor growth, with a reduction of 53.2% in tumor volume without toxicity in major organs after intratumoral administrations to tumor-bearing mice. Our results demonstrate that QD-LC could be a very promising theranostic agent against liver cancer.

Keywords: CdTe/CdS quantum dot–lipid complex, intrinsic nanotoxicity, selectivity, liver cancer therapy, macropinocytosis

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