Targeting cancer resistance via multifunctional gold nanoparticles

Pedro Pedrosa, M. Luísa Corvo, Margarida Ferreira-Silva, Pedro Martins, Manuela Colla Carvalheiro, Pedro M. Costa, Carla Martins, L. M. D. R. S. Martins, Pedro V. Baptista, Alexandra R. Fernandes

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21 Citations (Scopus)
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Resistance to chemotherapy is a major problem facing current cancer therapy, which is continuously aiming at the development of new compounds that are capable of tackling tumors that developed resistance toward common chemotherapeutic agents, such as doxorubicin (DOX). Alongside the development of new generations of compounds, nanotechnology-based delivery strategies can significantly improve the in vivo drug stability and target specificity for overcoming drug resistance. In this study, multifunctional gold nanoparticles (AuNP) have been used as a nanoplatform for the targeted delivery of an original anticancer agent, a Zn(II) coordination compound [Zn(DION)2]Cl2 (ZnD), toward better efficacy against DOX-resistant colorectal carcinoma cells (HCT116 DR). Selective delivery of the ZnD nanosystem to cancer cells was achieved by active targeting via cetuximab, NanoZnD, which significantly inhibited cell proliferation and triggered the death of resistant tumor cells, thus improving efficacy. In vivo studies in a colorectal DOX-resistant model corroborated the capability of NanoZnD for the selective targeting of cancer cells, leading to a reduction of tumor growth without systemic toxicity. This approach highlights the potential of gold nanoformulations for the targeting of drug-resistant cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5510
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Cancer
  • Cancer resistance
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Nanomedicine


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