PEG-PLA-Coated and Uncoated Radio-Luminescent CaWO4 Micro- and Nanoparticles for Concomitant Radiation and UV-A/Radio-Enhancement Cancer Treatments

Sung Duk Jo, Jaewon Lee, Min Kyung Joo, Vincenzo J. Pizzuti, Nicholas J. Sherck, Slgi Choi, Beom Suk Lee, Sung Ho Yeom, Sang Yoon Kim, Sun Hwa Kim, Ick Chan Kwon, You Yeon Won

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Currently, there is great interest in the development of ways to achieve the benefits of radiation treatments with reduced negative effects. The present study demonstrates the utilization of radio-luminescent particles (RLPs) as a means to achieve radio-sensitization and enhancement and their ability to affect head- and neck-cancer-cell cultures (in vitro) and xenografts (in vivo). Our approach utilizes a naturally abundant radio-luminescent mineral, calcium tungstate (CaWO4), in its micro or nanoparticulate form for generating secondary UV-A light by γ ray or X-ray photons. In vitro tests demonstrate that unoptimized RLP materials (uncoated CaWO4 (CWO) microparticles (MPs) and PEG-PLA-coated CWO nanoparticles (NPs)) induce a significant enhancement of the tumor-suppressive effect of X-rays and γ rays in both radio-sensitive- and radio-resistant-cancer models; uncoated CWO MPs and PEG-PLA-coated CWO NPs demonstrate comparable radio-sensitization efficacies in vitro. Mechanistic studies reveal that concomitant CaWO4 causes increased mitotic death in radio-resistant cells treated with radiation, whereas CaWO4 sensitizes radio-sensitive cells to X-ray-induced apoptosis and necrosis. The radio-sensitization efficacy of intratumorally injected CaWO4 particles (uncoated CWO MPs and PEG-PLA-coated CWO NPs) is also evaluated in vivo in mouse head- and neck-cancer xenografts. Uncoated CWO MPs suppress tumor growth more effectively than PEG-PLA-coated CWO NPs. On the basis of theoretical considerations, an argument is proposed that uncoated CWO MPs release subtoxic levels of tungstate ions, which cause increased photoelectric-electron-emission effects. The effect of folic acid functionalization on the in vitro radio-sensitization behavior produced by PEG-PLA-coated CWO NPs is studied. Surface folic acid results in a significant improvement in the radio-sensitization efficiency of CaWO4.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1445-1462
Number of pages18
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 9

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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