Fluorescent Nanoparticles Coated with a Somatostatin Analogue Target Blood Monocyte for Efficient Leukaemia Treatment



Leukaemia is the most prevalent form of cancer-causing death in a large number of populations and needs prompt and effective treatment. Chemotherapeutics can be used to treat leukaemia, but their pronounced killing effects to other living cells is still an issue. Active targeting to certain specific receptors in leukaemic cells is the best way to avoid damage to other living cells. Leukaemic cells can be targeted using novel nanoparticles (NPs) coated with a specific ligand, such as octreotide (OCD), to target somatostatin receptor type 2 (SSTR2), which is expressed in leukaemic cells.


Amino-PEGylated quantum dots (QDs) were chosen as model NPs. The QDs were first succinylated using succinic anhydride and then coated with OCD. The reactivity and selectivity of the formulated QDs-OCD were studied in cell lines with well-expressed SSTR2, while fluorescence was detected using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and flow cytometry (FACS). Conclusively, QD-OCD targeting to blood cells was studied in vivo in mice and detected using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and CLSM in tissues.


Highly stable QDs coated with OCD were prepared. FACS and CLSM showed highly definite interactions with overexpressed SSTR2 in the investigated cell lines. Moreover, the in vivo results revealed a higher concentration of QDs-OCD in blood cells. The fluorescence intensity of the QDs-OCD was highly accumulated in blood cells, while the unmodified QDs did not accumulate significantly in blood cells. Conclusion: The formulated novel QDs-OCD can target SSTR2 overexpressed in blood cells with great potential for treating blood cancer.

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Acknowledgments and Disclosures

The researchers would like to thank the Deanship of Scientific Research, Qassim University, for support of this project. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence to Ahmed A. H. Abdellatif.

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Abdellatif, A.A.H., Hennig, R., Pollinger, K. et al. Fluorescent Nanoparticles Coated with a Somatostatin Analogue Target Blood Monocyte for Efficient Leukaemia Treatment. Pharm Res 37, 217 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11095-020-02938-1

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Key Words

  • fluorescent nanoparticles, leukaemia, active targeting
  • octreotide
  • PEGylated quantum dots
  • somatostatin receptors