Novel doxorubicin loaded PEGylated cuprous telluride nanocrystals for combined photothermal-chemo cancer treatment

Xianwen Wang, Yan Ma, Huajian Chen, Xiaoyi Wu, Haisheng Qian, Xianzhu Yang, Zhengbao Zha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Recently, combined photothermal-chemo therapy has attracted great attention due to its enhanced anti-tumor efficiency via synergistic effects. Herein, PEGylated cuprous telluride nanocrystals (PEGylated Cu2Te NCs) were developed as novel drug nanocarriers for combined photothermal-chemo treatment of cancer cells. PEGylated Cu2Te NCs were fabricated through a simple two-step process, comprised of hot injection and thin-film hydration. The as-prepared PEGylated Cu2Te NCs (average diameter of 5.21 ± 1.05 nm) showed a noticeable photothermal conversion efficiency of 33.1% and good capacity to load hydrophobic anti-cancer drug. Due to the protonated amine group at low pH, the doxorubicin (DOX)-loaded PEGylated Cu2Te NCs (PEGylated Cu2Te-DOX NCs) exhibited an acidic pH promoted drug release profile. Moreover, a three-parameter model, which considers the effects of drug-carrier interactions on the initial burst release and the sustained release of drug from micro- and nano-sized carriers, was used to gain insight into how pH and laser irradiation affect drug release from PEGylated Cu2Te-DOX NCs. Based on the results from in vitro cell study, PEGylated Cu2Te-DOX NCs revealed remarkably photothermal-chemo synergistic effect to HeLa cells, attributed to both the PEGylated Cu2Te NCs mediated photothermal ablation and enhanced cellular uptake of the drug. Thus, our results encourage the usage of Cu2Te-DOX drug nanocarriers for enhanced treatment of cancer cells by combined photothermal-chemo therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-458
Number of pages10
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Anti-tumor treatment
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cuprous telluride
  • Drug nanocarriers
  • Photothermal therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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