Targeted Herceptin-dextran iron oxide nanoparticles for noninvasive imaging of HER2/neu receptors using MRI

Ting Jung Chen, Tsan Hwang Cheng, Chiao Yun Chen, Sodio C.N. Hsu, Tian Lu Cheng, Gin Chung Liu, Yun-Ming Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

133 Scopus citations


A novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent containing Herceptin is reported. The surfaces of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles were modified with dextran and conjugated with Herceptin (Herceptin-nanoparticles) to improve their dispersion, magnetization, and targeting of the specific receptors on cells. From analytical results, we found that Herceptin-nanoparticles were well dispersed in solutions of various pH range, and had no hysteresis, high saturation magnetization (80 emu/g), and low cytotoxicity to a variety of cells. Notably, the magnetic resonance enhancements for the different breast cancer cell lines (BT-474, SKBR-3, MDA-MB-231, and MCF-7) are proportional to the HER2/neu expression level in vitro. When Herceptin-nanoparticles were administered to mice bearing breast tumor allograft by intravenous injection, the tumor site was detected in T 2- weighted magnetic resonance images as a 45% enhancement drop, indicating a high level of accumulation of the contrast agent within the tumor sites. Therefore, targeting of cancer cells was observed by in vitro and in vivo MRI studies using Herceptin-nanoparticles contrast agent. In addition, Herceptin-nanoparticles enhancing the magnetic resonance signal intensity were sufficient to detect the cell lines with a low level of HER2/neu expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-260
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2009


  • HER2/neu receptor
  • Herceptin
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Superparamagnetic iron oxide

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