Theranostics 2016; 6(12):2039-2051. doi:10.7150/thno.17098

Research Paper

Size Dependent Kinetics of Gold Nanorods in EPR Mediated Tumor Delivery

Xiao Tong, Zhantong Wang, Xiaolian Sun, Jibin Song, Orit Jacobson, Gang Niu, Dale O. Kiesewetter, Xiaoyuan Chen

Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, United States.


Gold nanorods (AuNR) have been intensively used in nanomedicine for cancer diagnostics and therapy, due to their excellent plasmonic photothermal properties. Tuning the size and aspect ratio of AuNR tailors the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) in the NIR spectrum at which biological tissues are transparent, thus enables specific and effective treatment. The AuNR extravasates into tumor interstitium through enhanced permeation and retention (EPR) effect. Efficient AuNR based cancer therapy requires efficient AuNR tumor delivery. However, the size of AuNR can dramatically affect its blood circulation and tumor accumulation. Here we proposed for the first time a systematic framework to investigate the size-dependent kinetics of AuNRs during EPR mediated tumor delivery. By using 64Cu-labeled AuNRs with positron emission tomography (PET) and kinetic modeling, the in vivo uptake and kinetics of 64Cu-AuNR during its blood circulation, tumor accumulation and elimination were studied both in vitro and in vivo. The results of different sized AuNRs were compared and the optimum size of AuNR was suggested for EPR mediated tumor delivery. Our study provides a better understanding of the in vivo behavior of AuNR, which can help future design of nanomaterials for cancer imaging and therapy.

Keywords: gold nanorods, enhanced permeation and retention (EPR) effect, positron emission tomography (PET), kinetic modeling

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How to cite this article:
Tong X, Wang Z, Sun X, Song J, Jacobson O, Niu G, Kiesewetter DO, Chen X. Size Dependent Kinetics of Gold Nanorods in EPR Mediated Tumor Delivery. Theranostics 2016; 6(12):2039-2051. doi:10.7150/thno.17098. Available from