Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) conjugated magnetite nanoparticles as MRI contrast agents for breast cancer imaging

Jingjie Hu, John Obayemi, Karen Malatesta, Edward Yurkow, Derek Adler, Winston Soboyejo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Targeted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents offer platforms for the specific detection of many diseases, including cancer. This study explores the applicability of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone-conjugated PEG-coated magnetite nanoparticles (LHRH-MNPs) to the enhancement of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) detection. In vitro MRI studies were first performed, showing the consistent darkening effect of both MNPs and LHRH-MNPs in T2-weighted maps. Using a mouse model with an induced subcutaneous tumor, MNPs and LHRH-MNPs were injected into xenograft MDA-MB-231. This was done through intratumoral and intravenous injections, respectively, enabling direction comparisons of the two nanoparticles. Intratumorally injected LHRH-MNPs maintained T2 signals within the breast tumors up to two weeks, revealing long-term tumor enhancement ability, while the signal started to recover towards the contrast of the original tumor before injection in the case of MNPs at 24 h post injection. For intravenous administration, LHRH-MNPs continued to darken breast tumor 24 h following injection, whereas contrast enhancement was not obvious in animals injected with MNPs. These results show the potential of LHRH-MNPs as negative contrast agents for the specific detection of TNBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5175
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


  • Cancer detection
  • Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Magnetite nanoparticles
  • Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC)


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