Cavitation assisted endoplasmic reticulum targeted sonodynamic droplets to enhanced anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer

J Nanobiotechnology. 2022 Jun 16;20(1):283. doi: 10.1186/s12951-022-01459-w.


Background: Sonodynamic therapy (SDT) induces immunogenic cell death (ICD) in tumors and promises to play an assistive role in immunotherapy in pancreatic cancer. However, the short half-life and limited diffusion distance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) impair ICD induction, especially in tumors with relatively poor blood perfusion and dense stroma.

Results: To address this problem, we fabricated cavitation-assisted endoplasmic reticulum (ER) targeted sonodynamic nanodroplets (PMPS NDs, 329 nm). The good sonodynamic effect and precise endoplasmic reticulum target effect was verified. After intravenous injection, the cRGD peptide modified nanodroplets initially aggregated around the tumor vascular endothelial cells. Stimulated by ultrasound, the liquid-to-gas bubbles began to oscillate and cavitate. This acoustic droplet evaporation strategy facilitated transport of the nanoparticle across the vessel, with deep penetration. This loosened the tumor stroma and facilitated accumulation and penetration of loaded sonosensitizer after 6 h. The modified sonosensitizer can selectively accumulate in the ER to generate a large amount of ROS in situ, inducing potent ER stress, amplified ICD and dendritic cell maturation in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, the elevated antitumor effect of SDT plus anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy was verified using an orthotopic tumor model.

Conclusions: This study reports a cavitation assisted ER targeted sonodynamic therapy that can enhance the effect of anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy effectively in orthotopic and distant pancreatic cancer.

Keywords: Endoplasmic reticulum; Immunogenic cell death; Nanodroplets; Sonodynamic therapy; Ultrasound cavitation.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Ultrasonic Therapy*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species

Supplementary concepts

  • Pancreatic Carcinoma