Research Papers:

Gold nanoparticles as a potent radiosensitizer in neutron therapy

Eun Ho Kim, Mi-Sook Kim, Hyo Sook Song, Seung Hoon Yoo, Sei Sai, Kwangzoo Chung, Jiwon Sung, Youn Kyoung Jeong, YunHui Jo and Myonggeun Yoon _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:112390-112400. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19837

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Eun Ho Kim1, Mi-Sook Kim2, Hyo Sook Song3, Seung Hoon Yoo1, Sei Sai4, Kwangzoo Chung5, Jiwon Sung3, Youn Kyoung Jeong6, YunHui Jo3 and Myonggeun Yoon3

1Division of Heavy Ion Clinical Research, Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, Seoul, Korea

2Department of Radiation Oncology, Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, Seoul, Korea

3Department of Bio-convergence Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, Korea

4Department of Basic Medical Sciences for Radiation Damages, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Chiba, Japan

5Department of Radiation Oncology, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea

6Research Center for Radiotherapy, Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, Seoul, Korea

Correspondence to:

Myonggeun Yoon, email: [email protected]

Mi-Sook Kim, email: [email protected]

Keywords: gold nanoparticles, neutron therapy, radiosensitizer, cancer, γ-ray

Received: May 23, 2017     Accepted: July 25, 2017     Published: August 03, 2017


The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential of gold nanoparticles as radiosensitizer for use in neutron therapy against hepatocellular carcinoma.

The hepatocellular carcinoma cells lines Huh7 and HepG2 were irradiated with γ and neutron radiation in the presence or absence of gold nanoparticles. Effects were evaluated by transmission electron microscopy, cell survival, cell cycle, DNA damage, migration, and invasiveness.

Gold nanoparticles significantly enhanced the radiosensitivity of Huh7 and HepG2 cells to γ-rays by 1.41- and 1.16-fold, respectively, and by 1.80- and 1.35-fold to neutron radiation, which has high linear energy transfer. Accordingly, exposure to neutron radiation in the presence of gold nanoparticles induced cell cycle arrest, DNA damage, and cell death to a significantly higher extent, and suppressed cell migration and invasiveness more robustly. These effects are presumably due to the ability of gold nanoparticles to amplify the effective dose from neutron radiation more efficiently.

The data suggest that gold nanoparticles may be clinically useful in combination therapy against hepatocellular carcinoma by enhancing the toxicity of radiation with high linear energy transfer.

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