Multifunctional Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy-Detectable Silver Nanoparticles Combined Photodynamic Therapy and pH-Triggered Chemotherapy

J Biomed Nanotechnol. 2016 Dec;12(12):2202-19. doi: 10.1166/jbn.2016.2312.


This research paper reports the development of a multifunctional anti-cancer prodrug system based on silver nanoparticles. This prodrug system is composed of 70-nm sized nanoparticles and features photodynamic therapeutic properties and active, pH-triggered drug release. The silver nanoparticles are decorated with a folic acid (FA) targeting ligand via an amide bond, and also conjugated to the chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin (DOX) via an acid-cleavable hydrazone bond. Both FA and DOX are attached to the silver nanoparticles through a polyethylene glycol (PEG) spacer. This prodrug system can preferentially enter cells that over-express folic acid receptors, with subsequent intracellular drug release triggered by reduced intracellular pH. Moreover, the silver nanoparticle carrier system exhibits photodynamic therapeutic (PDT) activity, so that the cell viability of cancer cells that overexpress folate receptors can be further reduced upon light irradiation. The dual effects of pH-triggered drug release and PDT increase the therapeutic efficacy of this system. The multifunctional nanoparticles can be probed intracellularly through Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) and fluorescence spectroscopy. The current report explores the applicability of this multifunctional silver nanoparticle-based system for cancer theranostics.

Keywords: Doxoraubicin; Multifunctional Nanoparticles; Photodynamic Therapy; pH-Triggered Release; Silver Nanoparticles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Doxorubicin / chemistry
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacokinetics
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • Folic Acid / chemistry
  • Folic Acid / pharmacokinetics
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Photochemotherapy / methods*
  • Silver / chemistry*
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman
  • Theranostic Nanomedicine / methods*


  • Silver
  • Doxorubicin
  • Folic Acid