GPC3-targeted and curcumin-loaded phospholipid microbubbles for sono-photodynamic therapy in liver cancer cells

Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2021 Jan:197:111358. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2020.111358. Epub 2020 Sep 22.


More effective strategies are needed to improve the treatment of liver cancer. Sono-photodynamic therapy (SPDT) has a more obvious antitumor effect than sonodynamic therapy (SDT) or photodynamic therapy (PDT). We aimed to investigate Glypican-3-targeted, curcumin-loaded microbubbles (GPC3-CUR-MBs)-mediated SPDT in liver cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. GPC3-CUR-MBs were prepared by streptavidin-biotin interactions and the immune ligation method. The characterization and toxicity of GPC3-CUR-MBs and the anti-liver cancer effects of GPC3-CUR-MB-mediated SPDT in vitro and in vivo were studied. We synthetized GPC3-CUR-MBs and found that GPC3-CUR-MBs had no significant toxicity to HepG2 liver cancer cells. In terms of the anti-liver cancer effects in vitro and in vivo, when we used CUR, CUR-MBs or GPC3-CUR-MBs as the sono/photosensitizers, the outcome of SPDT was superior to that of SDT or PDT alone. The outcomes with GPC3-CUR-MBs were better than those with CUR or CUR-MBs in the SDT, PDT or SPDT groups. During the treatment period, the weight of the HepG2 tumor-bearing mice did not decrease significantly, and no significant evidence of lung, heart, liver, spleen and kidney damage was found with H&E staining. Our results indicated that the anti-liver tumor effect of SPDT was better than that of SDT and PDT and that GPC3-CUR-MBs were promising sono/photosensitizers.

Keywords: Curcumin; Glypican-3; Liver cancer; Microbubbles; Sono-photodynamic therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Curcumin* / pharmacology
  • Glypicans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Microbubbles
  • Phospholipids
  • Photochemotherapy*


  • Glypicans
  • Phospholipids
  • Curcumin