Comparison study of gold nanohexapods, nanorods, and nanocages for photothermal cancer treatment

Yucai Wang, Kvar C.L. Black, Hannah Luehmann, Weiyang Li, Yu Zhang, Xin Cai, Dehui Wan, Si Yun Liu, Max Li, Paul Kim, Zhi Yuan Li, Lihong V. Wang, Yongjian Liu, Younan Xia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

523 Scopus citations


Gold nanohexapods represent a novel class of optically tunable nanostructures consisting of an octahedral core and six arms grown on its vertices. By controlling the length of the arms, their localized surface plasmon resonance peaks could be tuned from the visible to the near-infrared region for deep penetration of light into soft tissues. Herein we compare the in vitro and in vivo capabilities of Au nanohexapods as photothermal transducers for theranostic applications by benchmarking against those of Au nanorods and nanocages. While all these Au nanostructures could absorb and convert near-infrared light into heat, Au nanohexapods exhibited the highest cellular uptake and the lowest cytotoxicity in vitro for both the as-prepared and PEGylated nanostructures. In vivo pharmacokinetic studies showed that the PEGylated Au nanohexapods had significant blood circulation and tumor accumulation in a mouse breast cancer model. Following photothermal treatment, substantial heat was produced in situ and the tumor metabolism was greatly reduced for all these Au nanostructures, as determined with 18F- flourodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography ( 18F-FDG PET/CT). Combined together, we can conclude that Au nanohexapods are promising candidates for cancer theranostics in terms of both photothermal destruction and contrast-enhanced diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2068-2077
Number of pages10
JournalACS nano
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 26 2013


  • gold nanostructures
  • near-infrared
  • photothermal effect
  • theranostics
  • tumor ablation


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