Utilizing gold nanoparticles as prospective radiosensitizers in 3D radioresistant pancreatic co-culture model




Alhussan, Abdulaziz
Jackson, Nolan
Calisin, Reinali
Morgan, Jessica
Beckham, Wayne
Chithrani, Devika B.

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International Journal of Molecular Sciences


Pancreatic cancer stands among the deadliest forms of cancer, and the existing treatments fall short of providing adequate efficacy. Novel and more effective treatment approaches are urgently required to address this critical medical challenge. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the anti-cancer efficacy of gold nanoparticles (GNPs) in combination with radiotherapy (RT). A 3D pancreatic cancer co-culture spheroid model of MIA PaCa-2 cancer cells and patient-derived cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAF-98) was used. The spheroids were treated with GNPs (7.5 μg/mL) and 2 Gy of RT. The spheroids’ cell viability was assessed through the CellTiter-Glo 3D assay, and an immunofluorescence assay was used to assess the DNA DSBs via the expression of the DNA damage marker 53BP1. Co-culture samples showed a 10.8% (p < 0.05) increase in proliferation and a 13.0% (p < 0.05) decrease in DNA DSB when compared to monoculture samples, However, they displayed a 175% (p < 0.001) increase in GNPs uptake when compared to monoculture spheroids. Using GNPs/RT, we were able to show a significant reduction of 6.2% (p < 0.05) in spheroid size and an increase of 14.3% (p < 0.05) in DNA DSB damage in co-culture samples. The combination of GNPs with RT demonstrated remarkable radiosensitization effects, representing a promising approach to enhance cancer treatment efficacy. These effects were particularly noteworthy in the more treatment-resistant co-culture spheroid model.



gold nanoparticles, radiosensitizers, 3D spheroids, co-culture, pancreatic cancer


Alhussan, A., Jackson, N., Calisin, R., Morgan, J., Beckham, W., & Chithrani, D. B. (2023). Utilizing gold nanoparticles as prospective radiosensitizers in 3D Radioresistant pancreatic co-culture model. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 24(15), 12523. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241512523