Application of gold nanoparticles for gastrointestinal cancer theranostics: A systematic review

Mohan Singh, David C.C. Harris-Birtill, Sheraz R. Markar, George B. Hanna, Daniel S. Elson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract Gold nanoparticles (GNPs) are readily synthesised structures that absorb light strongly to generate thermal energy which induces photothermal destruction of malignant tissue. This review examines the efficacy, potential challenges and toxicity from in vitro and in vivo applications of GNPs in oesophageal, gastric and colon cancers. A systematic literature search of Medline, Embase, Web of Science and Cochrane databases was performed using PRISMA guidelines. Two hundred and eighty-four papers were reviewed with sixteen studies meeting the inclusion criteria. The application of GNPs in eleven in vivo rodent studies with GI adenocarcinoma demonstrated excellent therapeutic outcomes but poor corroboration in terms of the cancer cells used, photothermal irradiation regimes, fluorophores and types of nanoparticles. There is compelling evidence of the translational potential of GNPs to be complimentary to surgery and feasible in the photothermal therapy of GI cancer but reproducibility and standardisation require development prior to GI cancer clinical trials. From the Clinical Editor Gold nanoparticles are one of the most potentially useful nanoparticles. This is especially true in cancer therapeutics because of their photothermal properties. In this comprehensive article, the authors reviewed the application and efficacy of gold nanoparticles in both the diagnosis and treatment of GI cancers. This review should provide a stimulus for researchers to further develop and translate these nanoparticles into future clinical trials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2083-2098
Number of pages16
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Gastrointestinal cancer
  • Photothermal therapy
  • Oesophageal
  • Gastric
  • Colon


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