Biocompatible polymer-modified gold nanocomposites of different shapes as radiation sensitizers†
Radiation therapy is a powerful approach for cancer treatment due to its low invasiveness. The development of radiation sensitizers is of great importance as they assist in providing radiation therapy at a low dose. In this study, poly(2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine) (PMPC)-modified gold nanocomposites of different shapes were created using the grafting-to approach to serve as a novel radiation sensitizer with high cellular uptake. The effect of the shape of the nanocomposite on cellular uptake by the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 was also investigated. The PMPC-modified gold nanostars showed the highest cellular uptake compared to the other gold nanocomposites (spheres and rods), whereas cell cytotoxicity was negligible among all candidates. Furthermore, the therapeutic effect of radiation of PMPC-modified nanostars was the highest among all the gold nanocomposites. These results clearly indicate that the shape of the gold nanocomposite is an important parameter for cellular uptake and radiation sensitizing effects in breast cancer cells.