Photothermal ablation of tumor cells using a single-walled carbon nanotube-peptide composite

J Control Release. 2014 Jan 10;173:59-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2013.10.039. Epub 2013 Nov 6.


Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are known to have great potential for biomedical applications such as photothermal ablation of tumor cells in combination with near-infrared (NIR) irradiation. In this study, the photothermal activity of a novel SWCNTs composite with a designed peptide having a repeated structure of H-(-Lys-Phe-Lys-Ala-)7-OH [(KFKA)7] against tumor cells was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. The SWCNT-(KFKA)7 composite demonstrated high aqueous dispersibility that enabled SWCNTs to be used in tumor ablation. The NIR irradiation of SWCNT-(KFKA)7 solution resulted in a rapid temperature increase dependent on the SWCNTs concentration up to 50μg/ml. Three minutes of NIR irradiation of a colon 26 or HepG2 cell culture incubated with SWCNT-(KFKA)7 resulted in remarkable cell damage, while that by single treatment with SWCNT-(KFKA)7 or NIR irradiation alone was moderate. The intratumoral injection of SWCNT-(KFKA)7 solution followed by NIR irradiation resulted in a rapid increase of the temperature to 43°C in the subcutaneously inoculated colon 26 tumor based on thermographic observation and remarkable suppression of tumor growth compared with treatment with only SWCNT-(KFKA)7 injection alone or NIR irradiation alone. These results suggest the a great potential of an SWCNT-peptide composite for use in photothermal cancer therapy.

Keywords: Aqueous dispersibility; Near-infrared laser irradiation; Photothermal cancer therapy; Single-walled carbon nanotube; Single-walled carbon nanotube–peptide composite; Tumor ablation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced / methods
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nanotubes, Carbon / chemistry*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / therapeutic use*
  • Phototherapy / methods


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Nanotubes, Carbon
  • Peptides