In this study, mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) have been successfully capped with graphene quantum dots (GQDs) to form multifunctional GQD-MSNs with the potential for synergistic chemo-photothermal therapy. The structure, drug-release behavior, photothermal effect, and synergistic therapeutic efficiency of GQD-MSNs to 4T1 breast cancer cells were investigated. The results showed that GQD-MSNs were monodisperse and had a particle size of 50-60 nm. Using doxorubicin hydrochloride (DOX) as a model drug, the DOX-loaded GQD-MSNs (DOX-GQD-MSNs) not only exhibited pH- and temperature-responsive drug-release behavior, but using near-infrared irradiation, they efficiently generated heat to kill cancer cells. Furthermore, GQD-MSNs were biocompatible and were internalized by 4T1 cells. Compared with chemotherapy and photothermal therapy alone, DOX-GQD-MSNs were much more effective in killing the 4T1 cells owing to a synergistic chemo-photothermal effect. Therefore, GQD-MSNs may have promising applications in cancer therapy.