doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2022.917368.

eCollection 2022.


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Saeid Afereydoon et al.

Front Bioeng Biotechnol.



Nowadays, radiotherapy is one of the most effective treatments for breast cancer. In order to overcome the radioresistance of cancer cells, radio-sensitizing agents can be used combined with irradiation to increase the therapeutic efficiency. Curcumin can enhance the radiosensitivity of cancer cells and decrease their viability by the accumulation of these cells in the G2 phase. The encapsulation of curcumin in a nanoniosomal delivery system increases aqueous solubility and bioavailability, resulting in increased radio sensitivity. The present study aimed to enhance the radio-sensitizing effect of the curcumin-containing nanoniosome (Cur-Nio) when combined with irradiation. Thus, curcumin (0.5 mg ml-1) was loaded on a PEGylated nanoniosome containing Tween 60, cholesterol, DOTAP, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-poly(ethylene glycol) (DSPE-PEG) (at ratios of 70:30:10:5, respectively) by the thin-film hydration method. The particle size, zeta potential, entrapment efficiency, and drug-release rate of formulated nanoniosomes were determined. In order to assess cytotoxicity and apoptosis, different doses of irradiation along with various concentrations of free curcumin and Cur-Nio (single or in combination with irradiation) were treated with breast cancer cells. The particle size and zeta potential of Cur-Nio were reported to be 117.5 nm and -15.1 mV, respectively. The entrapment efficiency (EE%) and loading capacities were 72.3% and 6.68%, respectively. The drug-release rate during 6 h was 65.9%. Cell survival in the presence of curcumin at doses of 1 and 3 Gy showed a significant reduction compared with cells irradiated at 48 h and 72 h (p < 0.000). Also, the rate of cytotoxicity and apoptosis was significantly higher in cells treated with the combination of curcumin-containing nanoniosomes and irradiation in comparison with those treated with free curcumin. These findings indicate that the efficacy of pre-treatment with Cur-Nio as a radiosensitizer during radiotherapy enhances irradiation-induced breast cancer cell apoptosis and is a useful strategy to increase the effectiveness of breast cancer therapy.


breast cancer; curcumin; irradiation; niosome nanoparticles; radiosensitizing.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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Multifunctional PEGylated Niosomal Nanoparticle-Loaded Herbal Drugs as a Novel Nano-Radiosensitizer and Stimuli-Sensitive Nanocarrier for Synergistic Cancer Therapy