Molecular Imaging and Biology

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 614–624 | Cite as

Tumor Uptake of Hollow Gold Nanospheres After Intravenous and Intra-arterial Injection: PET/CT Study in a Rabbit VX2 Liver Cancer Model

  • Mei TianEmail author
  • Wei Lu
  • Rui Zhang
  • Chiyi Xiong
  • Joe Ensor
  • Javier Nazario
  • James Jackson
  • Colette Shaw
  • Katherine A. Dixon
  • Jennifer Miller
  • Kenneth Wright
  • Chun Li
  • Sanjay GuptaEmail author
Research Article



This study was designed to investigate the intratumoral uptake of hollow gold nanospheres (HAuNS) after hepatic intra-arterial (IA) and intravenous (IV) injection in a liver tumor model.

Materials and methods

Fifteen VX2 tumor-bearing rabbits were randomized into five groups (n = 3 in each group) that received either IV 64Cu-labeled PEG-HAuNS (IV-PEG-HAuNS), IA 64Cu-labeled PEG-HAuNS (IA-PEG-HAuNS), IV cyclic peptide (RGD)-conjugated 64Cu-labeled PEG-HAuNS (IV-RGD-PEG-HAuNS), IA RGD-conjugated 64Cu-labeled PEG-HAuNS (IA-RGD-PEG-HAuNS), or IA 64Cu-labeled PEG-HAuNS with lipiodol (IA-PEG-HAuNS-lipiodol). The animals underwent PET/CT 1 h after injection, and uptake expressed as percentage of injected dose per gram of tissue (%ID/g) was measured in tumor and major organs. The animals were euthanized 24 h after injection, and tissues were evaluated for radioactivity.


At 1 h after injection, animals in the IA-PEG-HAuNS-lipiodol group showed significantly higher tumor uptake (P < 0.001) and higher ratios of tumor-to-normal liver uptake (P < 0.001) than those in all other groups. The biodistribution of radioactivity 24 h after injection showed that IA delivery of PEG-HAuNS with lipiodol resulted in the highest tumor uptake (0.33 %ID/g; P < 0.001) and tumor-to-normal liver ratio (P < 0.001) among all delivery methods. At 24 h, the IA-RGD-PEG-HAuNS group showed higher tumor uptake than the IA-PEG-HAuNS group (0.20 vs. 0.099 %ID/g; P < 0.001).


Adding iodized oil to IA-PEG-HAuNS maximizes nanoparticle delivery to hepatic tumors and therefore may be useful in targeted chemotherapy and photoablative therapy. PET/CT can be used to noninvasively monitor the biodistribution of radiolabeled HAuNS after IV or IA injection.

Key words

Hollow gold nanospheres Liver tumor Intra-arterial injection PET/CT Copper-64 Lipiodol 



This research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health grants CA119387 and GM092599, by a grant from the John S. Dunn Research Foundation.

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any conflict of interest related to this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© World Molecular Imaging Society 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mei Tian
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  • Wei Lu
    • 1
  • Rui Zhang
    • 1
  • Chiyi Xiong
    • 1
  • Joe Ensor
    • 2
  • Javier Nazario
    • 3
  • James Jackson
    • 4
  • Colette Shaw
    • 3
  • Katherine A. Dixon
    • 3
  • Jennifer Miller
    • 5
  • Kenneth Wright
    • 3
  • Chun Li
    • 1
  • Sanjay Gupta
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Experimental Diagnostic ImagingUniversity of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Biostatistics, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Diagnostic RadiologyUniversity of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Nuclear MedicineUniversity of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Veterinary Medicine and SurgeryUniversity of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  6. 6.Department of Nuclear Medicine and Medical PET CenterThe Second Hospital of Zhejiang University School of MedicineHangzhouChina

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