Nano Research

Article Title

Photothermal therapy of tumors in lymph nodes using gold nanorods and near-infrared laser light with controlled surface cooling


lymph node metastasis, photothermal therapy, gold nanorods, temperature control


Photothermal therapy (PTT) using near-infrared (NIR) laser light and gold nanorods (GNRs) shows promise as a novel cancer treatment modality. However, the laser intensity required to destroy tumor cells located beneath the skin is greater than the threshold intensity that causes skin damage; thus, irradiation with laser light damages the skin as well as the tumor. Here, we show that a temperature control system allows metastatic lymph nodes (LNs) to be treated by PTT using NIR laser light and GNRs, without skin damage. A mouse model of LN metastasis was developed by injection of tumor cells, and the tumor-bearing proper axillary LN was treated with NIR laser light after injection of GNRs. The skin temperature was maintained at 45 °C during irradiation by using a temperature control system. Bioluminescence imaging revealed that tumor progression was less in LNs exposed to NIR laser light and GNRs than in LNs exposed to NIR laser light alone or controls (no irradiation or GNRs). Furthermore, the skin and LN capsule were macroscopically intact on day 9 after irradiation with NIR laser light, whereas tumor cells within the LN showed apoptosis. A numerical analysis demonstrated that the high-temperature zone and the LN region showing damage were localized to an area up to 3 mm in depth. The proposed novel PTT technique, using NIR laser light and GNRs with controlled surface cooling, could be applied clinically to treat metastatic LNs located within or outside the area accessible for surgical dissection.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press