Novel method of doxorubicin-SPION reversible association for magnetic drug targeting

Int J Pharm. 2008 Nov 3;363(1-2):170-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2008.07.006. Epub 2008 Jul 16.


A new method of reversible association of doxorubicin (DOX) to superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) is developed for magnetically targeted chemotherapy. The efficacy of this approach is evaluated in terms of drug loading, delivery kinetics and cytotoxicity in vitro. Aqueous suspensions of SPION (ferrofluids) were prepared by coprecipitation of ferric and ferrous chlorides in alkaline medium followed by surface oxidation by ferric nitrate and surface treatment with citrate ions. The ferrofluids were loaded with DOX using a pre-formed DOX-Fe(2+) complex. The resulting drug loading was as high as 14% (w/w). This value exceeds the maximal loading known from literature up today. The release of DOX from the nanoparticles is strongly pH-dependent: at pH 7.4 the amount of drug released attains a plateau of approximately 85% after 1h, whereas at pH 4.0 the release is almost immediate. At both pH, the released drug is iron-free. The in vitro cytotoxicity of the DOX-loaded SPION on the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line is similar to that of DOX in solution or even higher, at low-drug concentrations. The present study demonstrates the potential of the novel method of pH-sensitive DOX-SPION association to design novel magnetic nanovectors for chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / chemistry*
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Doxorubicin / chemistry*
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • Drug Carriers*
  • Drug Compounding
  • Ferrous Compounds / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Kinetics
  • Magnetics*
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Solubility
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / methods*


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Drug Carriers
  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Doxorubicin
  • ferrous oxide