Prodrug-Loaded Zirconium Carbide Nanosheets as a Novel Biophotonic Nanoplatform for Effective Treatment of Cancer

Quan Liu, Zhongjian Xie, Meng Qiu, Inseob Shim, Yunlong Yang, Sisi Xie, Qinhe Yang, Dou Wang, Shiyou Chen, Taojian Fan, Bo Ding, Ziheng Guo, Dickson Adah, Xinhuang Yao, Yuhua Zhang, Hong Wu, Zongze Wu, Chaoying Wei, Hongzhong Wang, Hyeong Seok KimQingshuang Zou, Qiaoting Yan, Zhen Cai, Jong Seung Kim, Li Ping Liu, Han Zhang, Yihai Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Conventional chemotherapy and photothermal therapy (PTT) face many major challenges, including systemic toxicity, low bioavailability, ineffective tissue penetration, chemotherapy/hyperthermia-induced inflammation, and tumor angiogenesis. A versatile nanomedicine offers an exciting opportunity to circumvent the abovementioned limitations for their successful translation into clinical practice. Here, a promising biophotonic nanoplatform is developed based on the zirconium carbide (ZrC) nanosheet as a deep PTT-photosensitizer and on-demand designed anticancer prodrug SN38-Nif, which is released and activated by photothermia and tumor-overexpressed esterase. In vitro and in vivo experimental evidence shows the potent anticancer effects of the integrated ZrC@prodrug biophotonic nanoplatform by specifically targeting malignant cells, chemotherapy/hyperthermia-induced tumor inflammation, and angiogenesis. In mouse models, the ZrC@prodrug system markedly inhibits tumor recurrence, metastasis, inflammation and angiogenesis. The findings unravel a promising biophotonic strategy for precision treatment of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2001191
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 16


  • angiogenesis
  • chemotherapy
  • photothermal therapy
  • prodrug
  • zirconium carbide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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