In vitro radiosensitizing effects of ultrasmall gadolinium based particles on tumour cells

J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2011 Sep;11(9):7833-9. doi: 10.1166/jnn.2011.4725.


Since radiotherapy is widely used in cancer treatment, it is essential to develop strategies which lower the irradiation burden while increasing efficacy and become efficient even in radio resistant tumors. Our new strategy is relying on the development of solid hybrid nanoparticles based on rare-earth such as gadolinium. In this paper, we then evidenced that gadolinium-based particles can be designed to enter efficiently into the human glioblastoma cell line U87 in quantities that can be tuned by modifying the incubation conditions. These sub-5 nm particles consist in a core of gadolinium oxide, a shell of polysiloxane and are functionalized by diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA). Although photoelectric effect is maximal in the [10-100 keV] range, such particles were found to possess efficient in-vitro radiosensitizing properties at an energy of 660 keV by using the "single-cell gel electrophoresis comet assay," an assay that measures the number of DNA damage that occurs during irradiation. Even more interesting, the particles have been evidenced by MTT assays to be also efficient radiosensitizers at an energy of 6 MeV for doses comprised between 2 and 8 Gy. The properties of the gadolinium-based particles give promising opening to a particle-assisted radio-therapy by using irradiation systems already installed in the majority of hospitals.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Comet Assay
  • DNA Damage
  • Gadolinium*
  • Glioblastoma / genetics
  • Glioblastoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents*


  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • Gadolinium