Radioactive gold nanoparticles in cancer therapy: therapeutic efficacy studies of GA-198AuNP nanoconstruct in prostate tumor-bearing mice

Nanomedicine. 2010 Apr;6(2):201-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nano.2009.11.001. Epub 2009 Nov 12.


Biocompatibility studies and cancer therapeutic applications of nanoparticulate beta-emitting gold-198 (198Au; beta(max) = 0.96 MeV; half-life of 2.7 days) are described. Gum arabic glycoprotein (GA)-functionalized gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) possess optimum sizes (12-18 nm core diameter and 85 nm hydrodynamic diameter) to target individual tumor cells and penetrate through tumor vasculature and pores. We report the results of detailed in vivo therapeutic investigations demonstrating the high tumor affinity of GA-198AuNPs in severely compromised immunodeficient (SCID) mice bearing human prostate tumor xenografts. Intratumoral administration of a single dose of beta-emitting GA-198AuNPs (70 Gy) resulted in clinically significant tumor regression and effective control in the growth of prostate tumors over 30 days. Three weeks after administration of GA-198AuNPs, tumor volumes for the treated animals were 82% smaller as compared with tumor volume of control group. The treatment group showed only transitory weight loss in sharp contrast to the tumor-bearing control group, which underwent substantial weight loss. Pharmacokinetic studies have provided unequivocal evidence for the optimum retention of therapeutic payload of GA-198AuNPs within the tumor site throughout the treatment regimen with minimal or no leakage of radioactivity to various nontarget organs. The measurements of white and red blood cells, platelets, and lymphocytes within the treatment group resembled those of the normal SCID mice, thus providing further evidence on the therapeutic efficacy and concomitant in vivo tolerance and nontoxic features of GA-198AuNPs.

From the clinical editor: In this study, the biocompatibility and cancer therapeutic applications of glycoprotein (GA) functionalized gold nanoparticles containing b-emitting Au-198 are described in SCID mice bearing human prostate tumor xenografts. The findings of significant therapeutic efficacy, good in vivo tolerance and non-toxic features make these particles ideal candidates for future human applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry*
  • Gold Radioisotopes / chemistry*
  • Gold Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*
  • Gum Arabic / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Nanomedicine / methods
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Nanoparticles / therapeutic use*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / chemical synthesis
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Drug Carriers
  • Glycoproteins
  • Gold Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Gum Arabic