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Proton Therapy Enhanced by Tumor-Targeting Gold Nanoparticles: A Pilot in Vivo Experiment at The Proton Therapy Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center

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T Wolfe

T Wolfe*, J Grant , A Wolfe , M Gillin , S Krishnan , MD Anderson Cancer Ctr., Houston, TX


WE-G-BRE-7 Wednesday 4:30PM - 6:00PM Room: Ballroom E

Purpose: Assess tumor-growth delay and survival in a mouse model of prostate cancer treated with tumor-targeting gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and proton therapy.

Methods: We first examined the accumulation of targeting nanoparticles within prostate tumors by imaging AuNPs with ultrasound-guided photoacoustics at 24h after the intravenous administration of goserelin-conjugated AuNPs (gAuNP) in three mice. Nanoparticles were also imaged at the cellular level with TEM in PC3 cells incubated with gAuNP for 24h. Pegylated AuNPs (pAuNP) were also imaged in vivo and in vitro for comparison. PC3 cells were then implanted subcutaneously in nude mice; 51mice with 8-10mm tumors were included. AuNPs were injected intravenously at 0.2%w/w final gold concentration 24h before irradiation. A special jig was designed to facilitate tumor irradiation perpendicular to the proton beam. Proton energy was set to 180MeV, the radiation field was 18x18cm², and 9cm or 13.5cm thick solid-water compensators were used to position the tumors at either the beam entrance (BE) or the SOBP. Physical doses of 5Gy were delivered to all tumors on a patient beam line at MD Anderson’s Proton Therapy Center.

Results: The photoacoustic experiment reveled that our nanoparticles leak from the tumor-feeding vasculature and accumulate within the tumor volume over time. Additionally, TEM images showed gAuNP are internalized in cancer cells, accumulating within the cytoplasm, whereas pAuNP are not. Tumor-growth was delayed by 11 or 32days in mice receiving gAuNP irradiated at the BE or the SOBP, relative to proton radiation alone. Survival curves (ongoing experiment) reveal that gAuNPs improved survival by 36% or 74% for tumors irradiated at the BE or SOBP.

Conclusion:These important, albeit preliminary, in vivo findings reveal nanoparticles to be potent sensitizers to proton therapy. Further, conjugation of AuNPs to tumor-specific antigens that promote enhanced cellular internalization improved both tumor-growth delay and survival of mice after proton therapy.

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