Radionuclide (131)I labeled reduced graphene oxide for nuclear imaging guided combined radio- and photothermal therapy of cancer

Biomaterials. 2015 Oct:66:21-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2015.06.043. Epub 2015 Jul 14.


Nano-graphene and its derivatives have attracted great attention in biomedicine, including their applications in cancer theranostics. In this work, we develop 131I labeled, polyethylene glycol (PEG) coated reduced nano-graphene oxide (RGO), obtaining 131I-RGO-PEG for nuclear imaging guided combined radiotherapy and photothermal therapy of cancer. Compared with free 131I, 131IRGO- PEG exhibits enhanced cellular uptake and thus improved radio-therapeutic efficacy against cancer cells. As revealed by gamma imaging, efficient tumor accumulation of 131I-RGO-PEG is observed after its intravenous injection. While RGO exhibits strong near-infrared (NIR) absorbance and could induce effective photothermal heating of tumor under NIR light irradiation, 131I is able to emit high-energy X-ray to induce cancer killing as the result of radio ionization effect. By utilizing the combined photothermal therapy and radiotherapy, both of which are delivered by a single agent 131IRGO- PEG, effective elimination of tumors is achieved in our animal tumor model experiments. Toxicology studies further indicate that 131I-RGO-PEG induces no appreciable toxicity to mice at the treatment dose. Our work demonstrates the great promise of combing nuclear medicine and photothermal therapy as a novel therapeutic strategy to realize synergistic efficacy in cancer treatment.

Keywords: Combined therapy; Gamma imaging; Nano-graphene; Radiolabeling; Radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Graphite / chemistry
  • Graphite / therapeutic use*
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Mice
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Nanoparticles / therapeutic use*
  • Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / therapy*
  • Oxides / chemistry
  • Oxides / therapeutic use
  • Particle Size
  • Photochemotherapy / methods*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / therapeutic use
  • Radiotherapy, Image-Guided / methods*
  • Theranostic Nanomedicine
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Oxides
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Graphite