Nanotheranostics 2019; 3(3):266-283. doi:10.7150/ntno.36842

Research Paper

Polydopamine-coated gold nanostar for combined antitumor and antiangiogenic therapy in multidrug-resistant breast cancer

You-Hong You1, Yu-Feng Lin1,2, Bhanu Nirosha1, Huan-Tsung Chang2, Yu-Fen Huang1,✉

1. Department of Biomedical Engineering and Environmental Sciences, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan, ROC
2. Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan, ROC

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You YH, Lin YF, Nirosha B, Chang HT, Huang YF. Polydopamine-coated gold nanostar for combined antitumor and antiangiogenic therapy in multidrug-resistant breast cancer. Nanotheranostics 2019; 3(3):266-283. doi:10.7150/ntno.36842. Available from

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Cancer combination therapy can improve treatment efficacy and is widely utilized in the biomedical field. In this paper, we propose a facile strategy to develop a polydopamine (PDA)-coated Au nanostar (NS@PPFA) as a multifunctional nanoplatform for cancer targeting and combination therapy. The Au nanostar demonstrated high photothermal conversion efficiency because of the tip-enhanced plasmonic effect. Modification of PDA and folic acid on the NS surface improved its drug-loading efficiency and targeting capability. In vitro, compared with nontargeted cells, targeted breast cancer MCF-7 cells demonstrated efficient uptake of chemodrug-loaded NS-D@PPFA through the receptor-mediated endocytosis pathway. In combination with the photothermal effect induced by near-infrared laser irradiation, controlled payload release could be activated in response to both internal (acid) and external (photothermal) stimuli, leading to an efficient chemo-photothermal action against MCF-7 cells and drug-resistant MCF-7/ADR cells. By contrast, cellular damage was less obvious in normal HaCaT (human skin keratinocytes) and NIH-3T3 cells (murine fibroblasts). In addition, payload-free NS@PPFA exhibited a high binding affinity (Kd = 2.68 × 10-10 M) toward vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A165), which was at least two orders of magnitude stronger than that of highly abundant plasma proteins, such as human serum albumin. Furthermore, in vitro study showed that NS@PPFA could effectively inhibit VEGF-A165-induced proliferation, migration, and tube formation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells, resulting in additional therapeutic benefits for eradicating tumors through a simultaneous antiangiogenic action in chemo-photothermal treatment. The combined treatment also exhibited the lowest microvessel density, leading to a potent antitumor effect in vivo. Overall, our “all-in-one” nanoplatform is highly promising for tumor therapy, enabling effective treatment against multidrug-resistant cancers.

Keywords: Gold nanostar, Polydopamine, Antiangiogenesis, Cancer combination therapy, Drug delivery, Multidrug resistance