Development of light and pH-dual responsive self-quenching theranostic SPION to make EGFR overexpressing micro tumors glow and destroy.

Verimli N., Goralı S. İ., Abisoglu B., Altan C. L., Sucu B. O., Karatas E., ...More

Journal of photochemistry and photobiology. B, Biology, vol.248, pp.112797, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 248
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2023.112797
  • Journal Name: Journal of photochemistry and photobiology. B, Biology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, Chimica, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.112797
  • Keywords: Theranostics, Photodyanmic therapy, Pancreatic cancer, SPION, EGFR targeting, Fluorescence imaging
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Drug resistant and undetectable tumors easily escape treatment leading metastases and/or recurrence of the lethal disease. Therefore, it is vital to diagnose and destroy micro tumors using simple yet novel approaches. Here, we present fluorescence-based detection and light-based destruction of cancer cells that are known to be resistant to standard therapies. We developed a superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (SPION)-based theranostic agent that is composed of self-quenching light activated photosensitizer (BPD) and EGFR targeting ligand (Anti-EGFR ScFv or GE11 peptide). Photosensitizer (BPD) was immobilized to PEG-PEI modified SPION with acid-labile linker. Prior to stimulation of the theranostic system by light its accumulation within cancer cells is vital since BPD phototoxicity and fluorescence is activated by lysosomal proteolysis. As BPD is cleaved, the system switches from off to on position which triggers imaging and therapy. Targeting, therapeutic and diagnostic features of the theranostic system were evaluated in high and moderate level EGFR expressing pancreatic cancer cell lines. Our results indicate that the system distinguishes high and moderate EGFR expression levels and yields up to 4.3-fold increase in intracellular fluorescence intensity. Amplification of fluorescence signal was as low as 1.3-fold in the moderate or no EGFR expressing cell lines. Anti-EGFR ScFv targeted SPION caused nearly 2-fold higher cell death via apoptosis in high EGFR expressing Panc-1 cell line. The developed system, possessing advanced targeting, enhanced imaging and effective therapeutic features, is a promising candidate for multi-mode detection and destruction of residual drug-resistant cancer cells.