Int J Med Sci 2020; 17(6):824-833. doi:10.7150/ijms.40827

Research Paper

Assessment of Anti-Tumor potential and safety of application of Glutathione stabilized Gold Nanoparticles conjugated with Chemotherapeutics

Karol P. Steckiewicz1*, Ewelina Barcinska1*, Katarzyna Sobczak2, Ewelina Tomczyk2, Michał Wojcik2, Iwona Inkielewicz-Stepniak1✉

1. Chair and Department of Medical Chemistry, Medical University of Gdansk, Debinki street 1, 80-211 Gdansk, Poland.
2. Faculty of Chemistry, University of Warsaw, Pasteura 1, 02-093 Warsaw, Poland.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

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Steckiewicz KP, Barcinska E, Sobczak K, Tomczyk E, Wojcik M, Inkielewicz-Stepniak I. Assessment of Anti-Tumor potential and safety of application of Glutathione stabilized Gold Nanoparticles conjugated with Chemotherapeutics. Int J Med Sci 2020; 17(6):824-833. doi:10.7150/ijms.40827. Available from

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Due to the high toxicity of currently used chemotherapeutics, novel methods of cancer treatment are needed. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) seem to be an interesting alternative due to penetration through biological membranes and systemic barriers. AuNPs as carriers of chemotherapeutics allow for reduced concentrations whilst maintaining the expected effect, and thus reducing the costs of therapy and adverse effects. We synthesized AuNPs stabilized with reduced glutathione (GSH) and conjugated with doxorubicin (DOX), gemcitabine (GEM) or cytarabine (CTA). This is the first study in which cytarabine-AuNPs were synthesized and characterized. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) were used to chemically characterize obtained nanoparticles. Antitumor activity and safety of application were assessed by MTT assay in in vitro model (human osteosarcoma cells -143B, human osteoblast- hFOB1.19, breast cancer cells - MCF7, breast epithelial cells - MCF10A, pancreatic cancer cells - PANC-1, and pancreatic cells - hTERT-HPNE cells). We have shown that cellular response varies according to the type and concentration of AuNPs. At some concentrations, we were able to show selective cytotoxicity of our AuNPs conjugates only to cancer cell lines. Synthesized nanoparticles were more cytotoxic to tumor cell lines than chemotherapeutics alone.

Keywords: Gold nanoparticles, Cancer, Drug deliver platform, Gold nanoparticles conjugate, Chemotherapeutic