The biocompatibility of quantum dot probes used for the targeted imaging of hepatocellular carcinoma metastasis

Biomaterials. 2008 Nov;29(31):4170-6. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.07.025. Epub 2008 Aug 8.


Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) have several photo-physical advantages over organic dyes making them good markers in biomedical application. We used CdSe/ZnS QDs with maximum emission wavelength of 590nm (QD590) linked to alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) monoclonal antibody (Ab) to detect AFP in cytoplasm of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell line HCCLM6. For the in vivo studies, we used QD-AFP-Ab probes for targeted imaging of human HCC xenograft growing in nude mice by injecting them into the tail vein. In addition, the cytotoxicity in vitro, the acute toxicity in vivo, the hemodynamics and tissue distribution of these probes were also investigated. The results in vitro and in vivo indicate that our QD-based probes have good stability, specificity and biocompatibility for ultrasensitive fluorescence imaging of molecular targets in our liver cancer model system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Biocompatible Materials / metabolism*
  • Biocompatible Materials / pharmacokinetics
  • Biocompatible Materials / pharmacology
  • Biocompatible Materials / toxicity
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / physiopathology
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Molecular Probes / metabolism*
  • Molecular Probes / pharmacokinetics
  • Molecular Probes / pharmacology
  • Molecular Probes / toxicity
  • Quantum Dots*
  • Tissue Distribution / drug effects
  • Toxicity Tests, Acute
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays
  • alpha-Fetoproteins / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Molecular Probes
  • alpha-Fetoproteins