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Published December 27, 2011 | Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

In Vivo Quantitative Evaluation of the Transport Kinetics of Gold Nanocages in a Lymphatic System by Noninvasive Photoacoustic Tomography


Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy has emerged as a preferred method for axillary lymph node staging of breast cancer, and imaging the SLN in three-dimensional space is a prerequisite for the biopsy. Conventional SLN mapping techniques based on the injection of an organic dye or a suspension of radioactive colloids suffer from invasive surgical operation for visual detection of the dye or hazardous radioactive components and low spatial resolution of Geiger counters in detecting the radioactive colloids. This work systematically investigates the use of gold nanocages (AuNCs) as a novel class of optical tracers for noninvasive SLN imaging by photoacoustic (PA) tomography in a rat model. The transport of AuNCs in a lymphatic system and uptake by the sentinel lymph node were evaluated by PA tomography on the axillary region of a rat. Quantification of AuNCs accumulated in the lymph node was achieved by correlating the data from PA imaging with the results from inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Several parameters were systematically evaluated and optimized, including the concentration, size, and surface charge of the AuNCs. These results are critical to the further development of this AuNC-based PA tomography system for noninvasive SLN imaging, providing valuable information for metastatic cancer staging.

Additional Information

© 2011 American Chemical Society. Received for review August 15, 2011 and accepted November 4, 2011. This work was supported in part by a 2006 NIH Director's Pioneer Award (DP1 OD000798), a grant from the NCI (R01 CA13852701), and startup funds from Washington University in St. Louis to X.Y. It was also sponsored by other NIH grants (R01 EB000712, R01 EB008085, R01 CA134539, and U54 CA136398) and a grant from St. Louis Institute for Nanomedicine (SLIN) to L.V.W. Part of the research was performed at the Nano Research Facility, a member of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN), which is supported by the NSF under ECS-0335765. L.V.W. has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics, Inc. and Endra, Inc., which, however, did not support this work. Conflict of Interest: L.V.W. has a financial interest in Microphotoacoustics, Inc. and Endra, Inc., which, however, did not support this work

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