Photothermal effects of multi-walled carbon nanotubes on the viability of BT-474 cancer cells

Hung Tao Chou, Tsung Pao Wang, Chi Young Lee, Nyan Hwa Tai*, Hwan You Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

28 Scopus citations


Functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (f-MWCNTs) were conjugated to an antibody of BT-474 cancer cells (f-MWCNTs-ab), and the photothermal effect of the f-MWCNTs-ab for BT-474 cancer cell destruction was demonstrated. After near-infrared irradiation, the f-MWCNTs-ab were more capable of killing cancer cells and possessed higher cell specificity than f-MWCNTs. Quantitative results showed that the viability of the cancer cells was affected by the concentration of the f-MWCNTs-ab solution, irradiation time, and settling time after irradiation. The membrane impermeable fluorescence dye ethidium bromide was used to detect cell viability after near-infrared irradiation, and the results agreed with those obtained from the Alamar Blue cell viability assay. The EtBr fluorescence results suggest that the cell membrane, attached to f-MWCNTs-ab, was damaged after irradiation, which led to cell death and necrosis. Using confocal microscopy, a few f-MWCNTs-ab were detected in the cell, indicating the endocytosis effect. The results not only explain the improved efficiency of thermotherapy but also indicate that necrosis may result from protein denaturation attributing to the heated f-MWCNTs-ab in the cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)989-995
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Issue number2
StatePublished - 01 03 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibody
  • Keywords
  • Multi-walled carbon nanotubes
  • Photothermal therapy


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