Determining the Radiation Enhancement Effects of Gold Nanoparticles in Cells in a Combined Treatment with Cisplatin and Radiation at Therapeutic Megavoltage Energies

Cancers (Basel). 2018 May 22;10(5):150. doi: 10.3390/cancers10050150.


Combined use of chemotherapy and radiation therapy is commonly used in cancer treatment, but the toxic effects on normal tissue are a major limitation. This study assesses the potential to improve radiation therapy when combining gold nanoparticle (GNP) mediated radiation sensitization with chemoradiation compared to chemoradiation alone. Incorporation of GNPs with 2 Gy, 6 MV (megavoltage) radiation resulted in a 19 ± 6% decrease in survival of MDA-MB-231 cells. Monte-Carlo simulations were performed to assess dosimetric differences in the presence of GNPs in radiation. The results show that physics dosimetry represents a small fraction of the observed effect. The survival fraction of the cells exposed to GNPs, cisplatin, and radiation was 0.16 ± 0.007, while cells treated with cisplatin and radiation only was 0.23 ± 0.011. The presence of GNPs resulted in a 30 ± 6% decrease in the survival, having an additive effect. The concentration of the GNPs and free drug used for this study was 0.3 and 435 nM, respectively. These concentrations are relatively lower and achievable in an in vivo setting. Hence, the results of our study would accelerate the incorporation of GNP-mediated chemoradiation into current cancer therapeutic protocols in the near future.

Keywords: Monte Carlo; chemoradiation; cisplatin; gold nanoparticles (GNP); radiation.