Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and cisplatin have been explored in concomitant chemoradiotherapy, wherein they elicit their effects by distinct and overlapping mechanisms. Cisplatin is one of the most frequently utilized radiosensitizers in the clinical setting; however, the therapeutic window of cisplatin-aided chemoradiotherapy is limited by its toxicity. The goal of this study was to determine whether AuNPs contribute to improving the treatment response when combined with fractionated cisplatin-based chemoradiation in both in vitro and in vivo models of triple-negative breast cancer (MDA-MB-231Luc ). Cellular-targeting AuNPs with receptor-mediated endocytosis (AuNP-RME) in vitro at a noncytotoxic concentration (0.5 mg/ml) or cisplatin at IC25 (12 μM) demonstrated dose enhancement factors (DEFs) of 1.25 and 1.14, respectively; the combination of AuNP-RME and cisplatin resulted in a significant DEF of 1.39 in vitro. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images showed effective cellular uptake of AuNPs at tumor sites 24 h after intratumoral infusion. Computed tomography (CT) images demonstrated that the intratumoral levels of gold remained stable up to 120 h after infusion. AuNPs (0.5 mg gold per tumor) demonstrated a radiation enhancement effect that was equivalent to three doses of cisplatin at IC25 (4 mg/kg), but did not induce intrinsic toxicity or increased radiotoxicity. Results from this study suggest that AuNPs are the true radiosensitizer in these settings. Importantly, AuNPs enhance the treatment response when combined with cisplatin-based fractionated chemoradiation. This combination of AuNPs and cisplatin provides a promising approach to improving the therapeutic ratio of fractionated radiotherapy.
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Vol. 187 • No. 2