Silver nanotriangles and chemotherapy drugs synergistically induce apoptosis in breast cancer cells via production of reactive oxygen species

  • Peidang LiuEmail author
  • Huiquan Yang
  • Wenbin Chen
  • Jing Zhao
  • Dongdong Li
Research Paper


Chemotherapy is increasingly used in breast cancer treatment; however, drug resistance remains the major limitation and challenge of present chemotherapy. Previous studies indicated that the combination of nanomaterials and chemotherapy drug could overcome such resistance and exhibit a synergistic anticancer effect. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the antibreast cancer effect of cyclophosphamide, gemcitabine, 5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin, or doxorubicin combined with silver nanotriangles (AgNTs), and screen out the drug with the most broad-spectrum and strongest synergistic activity. Transmission electron microscopy image showed that the synthesized AgNTs were triangular and truncated triangular in shape with a mean edge length of 126 nm. The synergistic antibreast cancer effect of AgNTs plus cyclophosphamide or gemcitabine was found to be cell type–specific, while 5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin, and doxorubicin displayed synergistic effects with AgNTs on viabilities of various breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB-231, MCF-7, and 4T1), and doxorubicin was the strongest in general. Furthermore, the synergism was proved to mainly result from reactive oxygen species–mediated cell apoptosis. These findings could potentially be exploited for new highly efficient combination treatment of breast cancer.


Silver nanotriangles Chemotherapy Synergy Breast cancer Reactive oxygen species Apoptosis Nanomedicine 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81771980 and 81571805) and the National Key Basic Research Program of China (973 Program; 2013CB933904).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11051_2019_4703_MOESM1_ESM.doc (252 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 251 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peidang Liu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Huiquan Yang
    • 1
  • Wenbin Chen
    • 1
  • Jing Zhao
    • 1
  • Dongdong Li
    • 1
  1. 1.School of MedicineSoutheast UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Biomaterials and DevicesSoutheast UniversityNanjingChina

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