Human ferritin H-chain protein (FTH1)-based nanoparticles possess a precisely assembled nanometer-scale structure and high safety. However, their applications for imaging and drug delivery towards cancer cells remain limited due to a lack of target specificity. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in many malignant tissues including breast cancer, and has been used as a therapeutic target for cancer treatment. Herein, a genetic method is shown to generate EGF-FTH1 chimeric proteins. EGF-FTH1 nanoparticles with EGF on the surface are then produced. The data demonstrate that EGF-FTH1 nanoparticles, with a small size (11.8 ± 1.8 nm), narrow size distribution, and high biosafety, can specifically bind to and then be taken up by breast cancer MCF-7 cells and MDA-MB-231 cells, but not normal breast epithelial MCF-10A cells. In contrast, binding and absorption of nontargeted ferritin-based nanoparticles to breast cancer cells are negligible. In vivo studies show that EGF-FTH1 nanoparticles are accumulated in breast tumors in a mouse xenograft model. Interestingly, the concentration of EGF-FTH1 nanoparticles in the tumor site is significantly reduced when mice are pretreated with an excess of free EGF. These results imply that EGF-EGFR interaction plays an important role in regulating the tumor retention of EGF-FTH1 nanoparticles.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)