Nano Research

Article Title

Dual pH-responsive “charge-reversal like” gold nanoparticles to enhance tumor retention for chemo-radiotherapy


aggregation, enhanced retention, radiosentisizers, pH-responsive, charge-reversal


The strategy of pH-responsive aggregation in tumor micro-environment (TME) provides an intriguing platform for enhancing tumor retention and exerting therapeutic effects sufficiently. In this work, we have designed an intelligent dual pH-responsive self-aggregating nano gold system (Au@PAH-Pt/DMMA) for the combined chemo-radiotherapy, in which a “charge-reversal like” strategy was utilized to realize irreversible stable aggregation and pH-specific release of cisplatin prodrug in TME. Responsive aggregation increases the cellular uptake of Au@PAH-Pt/DMMA by 55%–60%, and the cellular uptake of Pt after X-ray irradiation can be further enhanced by 80%. Additionally, responsive aggregation greatly slows down the rate of efflux from tumor in vivo. This system not only promotes B16 cell apoptosis as a chemotherapeutic agent (30.4%), it also enhances the effect of chemo-radiotheray (CRT) by promoting apoptosis as a radiosensitizer (55.3%). The colony formation assay results were fitted to cell survival curve of B16 cells and the sensitization enhancement ratio (SER) was calculated to be 1.29, which shows a good radiosensitizing ability. When exposed to X-ray, this nanoplatform reached the ideal therapeutic effect, and the tumor inhibition rate of Au@PAH-Pt/DMMA reached 91.6% with low drug administration frequency and dose of X-ray. Overall, the dual pH-responsive nanoparticles Au@PAH-Pt/DMMA could effectively enhance tumor therapeutic efficiency by combined chemo-radiotherapy, which provides a potential method for clinical transformation of cancer treatment.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press