Actively targeted gold nanoparticles as novel radiosensitizer agents: an in vivo head and neck cancer model
A major problem in the treatment of head and neck cancer today is the resistance of tumors to traditional radiation therapy, which results in 40% local failure, despite aggressive treatment. The main objective of this study was to develop a technique which will overcome tumor radioresistance by increasing the radiation absorbed in the tumor using cetuximab targeted gold nanoparticles (GNPs), in clinically relevant energies and radiation dosage. In addition, we have investigated the biological mechanisms underlying tumor shrinkage and the in vivo toxicity of GNP. The results showed that targeted GNP enhanced the radiation effect and had a significant impact on tumor growth (P < 0.001). The mechanism of radiation enhancement was found to be related to earlier and greater apoptosis (TUNEL assay), angiogenesis inhibition (by CD34 level) and diminished repair mechanism (PCNA staining). Additionally, GNPs have been proven to be safe as no evidence of toxicity has been observed.