Combination therapies utilize multiple mechanisms to target cancer cells to minimize cancer cell survival. Graphene provides an ideal platform for combination therapy due to its photothermal properties and high loading capacity for cancer-fighting molecules. Lipid functionalization of graphene extends its potential as a therapeutic platform by improving its biocompatibility and functionality. Previous studies involving graphene demonstrated its usage as a therapeutic vehicle; however, the effect of bare and engineered graphene structures on oxidative stress has not been comprehensively investigated. Because oxidative stress has been linked to cancer progression, it is vital to examine the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in response to therapeutic platforms. This study functionalizes reduced graphene oxide (rGO) with lipids and the antioxidant enzyme human manganese superoxide dismutase (hMnSOD) and presents a detailed characterization of cellular responses to bare and functionalized rGO nanostructures in tumorigenic and nontumorigenic breast cell lines. Each cell type displayed distinct responses depending on whether they were normal, nonmetastatic, or metastatic cells. Bare rGO significantly reduced cell growth and substantially increased ROS production in all cell lines and instigated necrosis in metastatic breast cancer cells. Cell proliferation decreased in cancerous breast cells upon introduction of lipid-rGO, which correlated with peroxidation of lipids coating the rGO. In contrast, lipid-rGO nanostructures had minimal impact on proliferation and lipid peroxidation for normal breast cells. Lipid-rGO nanostructures with bound hMnSOD inhibited the proliferation of metastatic cancer cells while preventing necrosis and avoiding the negative side effects on normal cells associated with chemotherapeutic agents. Together, the results confirm the importance of functionalizing rGO for therapeutic applications and present an additional modality for the usage of graphene to selectively target cancer cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)