Theranostics 2018; 8(6):1648-1664. doi:10.7150/thno.23369

Research Paper

2D Superparamagnetic Tantalum Carbide Composite MXenes for Efficient Breast-Cancer Theranostics

Zhuang Liu1, Han Lin2,3, Menglong Zhao4, Chen Dai5, Shengjian Zhang1✉, Weijun Peng1✉, Yu Chen2✉

1. Department of Radiology, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center; Department of Oncology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200032, P. R. China.
2. State Key Laboratory of High Performance Ceramics and Superfine Microstructure, Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, 200050, P. R. China.
3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, P. R. China.
4. Department of Radiology, Zhongshan Hospital, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai Institute of Medical Imaging, Shanghai, 200032, P. R. China.
5. Department of Ultrasound in Medicine, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200072, P. R. China.


Background: The emergence of two-dimensional MXenes has spurred their versatile applications in broad fields, but the exploring of novel MXene-based family members and their potential applications in theranostic nanomedicine (concurrent diagnostic imaging and therapy) have been rarely explored. In this work, we report the construction of a novel superparamagnetic MXene-based theranostic nanoplatform for efficient breast-cancer theranostics, which was based on intriguing tantalum carbide (Ta4C3) MXene and its further rational surface-superparamagnetic iron-oxide functionalization (Ta4C3-IONP-SPs composite MXenes) for efficient breast-cancer theranostic.

Methods: The fabrication of ultrathin Ta4C3 nanosheets was based on an exfoliation strategy and superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles were in-situ grown onto the surface of Ta4C3 MXene according to the redox reaction of MXene. Ta4C3-IONP MXenes were modified with soybean phospholipid (SP) to guarantee high stability in physiological conditions. The photothermal therapy, contrast-enhanced CT, T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and the high biocompatibility of these composite nanosheets have also been evaluated in vitro at cellular level and in vivo on mice breast tumor allograft tumor model.

Results: The Ta component of Ta4C3-IONP-SPs exhibits high performance for contrast-enhanced CT imaging because of its high atomic number and high X-ray attenuation coefficient, and the integrated superparamagnetic IONPs act as excellent contrast agents for T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. Especially, these Ta4C3-IONP-SPs composite nanosheets with high photothermal-conversion efficiency (η: 32.5%) has achieved complete tumor eradication without reoccurrence, verifying their highly efficient breast-tumor photo-ablation performance.

Conclusion: This work not only significantly broadens the biomedical applications of MXene-based nanoplatforms (Ta4C3 MXene) by exploring their novel family members and further functionalization strategies (magnetic functionalization in this work), but also provides a novel and efficient theranostic nanoplatform for efficient breast-cancer theranostics.

Keywords: Tantalum carbide, MXene, Fe3O4, Multimodal imaging, Photothermal therapy, Nanomedicine

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How to cite this article:
Liu Z, Lin H, Zhao M, Dai C, Zhang S, Peng W, Chen Y. 2D Superparamagnetic Tantalum Carbide Composite MXenes for Efficient Breast-Cancer Theranostics. Theranostics 2018; 8(6):1648-1664. doi:10.7150/thno.23369. Available from