Biological evaluation of RGDfK-gold nanorod conjugates for prostate cancer treatment

Adam J. Gormley, Alexander Malugin, Abhijit Ray, Ryan Robinson, Hamidreza Ghandehari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Selective delivery of gold nanorods (GNRs) to sites of prostate tumor angiogenesis is potentially advantageous for localized photothermal therapy. Here, we report the cellular uptake and biodistribution of GNRs surface functionalized with the cyclic RGDfK peptide. The GNRs were synthesized to have a surface plasmon resonance (SPR) peak at 800nm and grafted with a thiolated poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) corona with or without RGDfK. The binding and uptake of the targeted (RGDfK) and untargeted GNRs were evaluated in DU145 prostate cancer and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) by high-resolution dark field microscopy, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The biodistribution of both GNRs was then evaluated in prostate tumor bearing mice. Targeting of the RGDfK surface-modified GNRs was confirmed in vitro due to selective binding and uptake by endothelial cells. Tumor targeting was not observed in vivo, however, due to fast clearance of the RGDfK-GNRs from the blood. Further modifications of the nanoparticle's surface properties are needed to enhance localization of the targetable system in sites of tumor angiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)915-924
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Drug Targeting
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmaceutical Science


  • Angiogenesis targeting
  • Gold nanorods
  • Prostate cancer
  • RGD


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