Supercritical carbon dioxide-developed silk fibroin nanoplatform for smart colon cancer therapy

Int J Nanomedicine. 2017 Oct 20;12:7751-7761. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S145012. eCollection 2017.


Purpose: To deliver insoluble natural compounds into colon cancer cells in a controlled fashion.

Materials and methods: Curcumin (CM)-silk fibroin (SF) nanoparticles (NPs) were prepared by solution-enhanced dispersion by supercritical CO2 (SEDS) (20 MPa pressure, 1:2 CM:SF ratio, 1% concentration), and their physicochemical properties, intracellular uptake efficiency, in vitro anticancer effect, toxicity, and mechanisms were evaluated and analyzed.

Results: CM-SF NPs (<100 nm) with controllable particle size were prepared by SEDS. CM-SF NPs had a time-dependent intracellular uptake ability, which led to an improved inhibition effect on colon cancer cells. Interestingly, the anticancer effect of CM-SF NPs was improved, while the side effect on normal human colon mucosal epithelial cells was reduced by a concentration of ~10 μg/mL. The anticancer mechanism involves cell-cycle arrest in the G0/G1 and G2/M phases in association with inducing apoptotic cells.

Conclusion: The natural compound-loaded SF nanoplatform prepared by SEDS indicates promising colon cancer-therapy potential.

Keywords: colon cancer; nanoparticle; natural compounds; silk fibroin; supercritical.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carbon Dioxide / chemistry*
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Colonic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use
  • Endocytosis / drug effects
  • Fibroins / chemistry*
  • HCT116 Cells
  • Humans
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Particle Size


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Fibroins
  • Curcumin