• gold nanoparticles;
  • tumor targeting;
  • imaging;
  • iodine-125;
  • biomedical applications


Radioactive iodine-labeled, cyclic RGD-PEGylated gold nanoparticle (AuNP) probes are designed and synthesized for targeting cancer cells and imaging tumor sites. These iodine-125-labeled cRGD–PEG–AuNP probes are stable in various conditions including a range of pHs and high salt and temperature conditions. These probes can target selectively and be taken up by tumor cells via integrin αvβ3-receptor-mediated endocytosis with no cytotoxicity. The probes show a significant increase in the avidity of αvβ3 integrin compared to the corresponding free cRGD peptides. In-vivo SPECT/CT imaging results show that the iodine-125-labeled cRGD–PEG–AuNP probes can target the tumor site as soon as 10 min after injection, and also that cyclic RGD peptides are needed for efficient and long-term in-vivo monitoring. The results suggest that the probes circulate through the whole body, including renal filtration, and are excretable. These promising results show that radioactive-iodine-labeled gold nanoprobes have potential for highly specific and sensitive tumor imaging or for use as angiogenesis-targeted SPECT/CT imaging probes.