Urchin-like tungsten suboxide for photoacoustic imaging-guided photothermal and photodynamic cancer combination therapy†
Being an encouraging approach with high selectivity and minor side-effects, imaging-guided phototherapy for cancer treatment has attracted lots of research interest. Wherein particularly important is the development of a novel agent that favors cancer imaging and phototherapy in one. In this study, urchin-like tungsten suboxide nanomaterials (WOs) were synthesized for photothermal (PT) and photodynamic (PD) combined cancer treatment, as well as photoacoustic (PA) imaging to depict tumors. On the basis of strong photoabsorption in the near-infrared (NIR) region, the WOs exhibit high photothermal conversion and singlet-oxygen generation efficiency, and thus can achieve dual effects of PT and PD therapies, resulting in severe cancer cell death and apoptosis as proved by in vitro assays. Further in vivo experiments with HeLa tumor-bearing nude mice reveal that WOs have an effective photoablation outcome for malignant tumors under 1064 nm NIR light irradiation, whereas there is no obvious systematical toxicity for major organs and no hematological disorders. Finally, WOs could also function as excellent PA agents in consideration of their rapid and significant PA signal enhancement in the tumor region. Altogether, our research work demonstrates the potential of WOs as a multifunctional nanoagent for PA imaging-guided PT and PD cancer therapy.