Photothermal/NO combination therapy from plasmonic hybrid nanotherapeutics against breast cancer

Reesha Kakkadavath Vayalakkara, Chun Liang Lo, Hsin Hung Chen, Ming Yin Shen, Ying Chieh Yang, Arjun Sabu, Yu Feng Huang*, Hsin Cheng Chiu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In this study, a plasmon-semiconductor nanotheranostic system comprising Au nanostars/graphene quantum dots (AuS/QD) hybrid nanoparticles loaded with BNN6 and surface modified with PEG-pyrene was developed for the photo-triggered hyperthermia effect and NO production as the dual modality treatment against orthotopic triple-negative breast cancer. The structure and morphology of the hybrid nanodevice was characterized and the NIR-II induced thermal response and NO production was determined. The hybrid nanodevice has shown enhanced plasmonic energy transfer from localized surface plasmonic resonance of Au nanostars to QD semiconductor that activates the BNN6 species loaded on QD surfaces, leading to the effective NO production and the gas therapy in addition to the photothermal response. The increased accumulation of the NIR-II-responsive hybrid nanotheranostic in tumor via the enhanced permeation and retention effects was confirmed by both in vivo fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging. The prominent therapeutic efficacy of the photothermal/NO combination therapy from the BNN6-loaded AuS@QD nanodevice with the NIR-II laser irradiation at 1064 nm against 4T1 breast cancer was observed both in vitro and in vivo. The NO therapy for the cancer treatment was evidenced with the increased cellular nitrosative and oxidative stress, nitration of tyrosine residues of mitochondrial proteins, vessel eradication and cell apoptosis. The efficacy of the photothermal treatment was corroborated directly by severe tissue thermal ablation and tumor growth inhibition. The NIR-II triggered thermal/NO combination therapy along with the photoacoustic imaging-guided therapeutic accumulation in tumor shows prominent effect to fully inhibit tumor growth and validates the promising strategy developed in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-432
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Gas therapy
  • NIR-II activation
  • Nitric oxide
  • Photoacoustic imaging
  • Photothermal therapy
  • Plasmon-exciton hybrid system


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