Intratumoral injection of ultra-small gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) conjugated to doxorubicin (Au-Dox) is effective against both murine B16 and human SK-MEL-28 tumors in mice. Au-Dox suppresses growth of B16 tumors in immunocompetent mice by >70% for at least 19 days. In SK-MEL-28 xenografts, Au-Dox suppresses tumor growth almost completely for >13 weeks, while tumors treated with Dox alone demonstrate accelerated growth after 10 weeks. Histological analysis shows significant apoptosis and necrosis in Au-Dox treated tumors. Intratumoral injection is significantly more effective than intravenous injection, which leads to significant accumulation in liver and kidney with sub-therapeutic concentrations of Au-Dox. However, IV injection does not lead to significant damage in non-target organs, so improved targeting should permit this mode of delivery with little risk of systemic toxicity. The current construct is suitable for tumors accessible to intratumoral injection and represents a viable approach doxorubicin-resistant solid tumors. Drug resistance is a significant problem in the fight against cancer. The authors describe a new approach in combating drug resistance in tumor cells by conjugating ultrasmall gold nanoparticles to doxorubicin. They tested the efficacy in in-vivo models using two melanoma cell lines. The promising results obtained from intra-tumoral injections contribute a way in future drug designs showing that conjugation to nanoparticles could lead to more effective and synergistic killing of tumor cells.
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