Quantifying Radiosensitization of PSMA-Targeted Gold Nanoparticles on Prostate Cancer Cells at Megavoltage Radiation Energies by Monte Carlo Simulation and Local Effect Model.

Active targeting gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are a very promising avenue for cancer treatment with many publications on AuNP mediated radiosensitization at kilovoltage (kV) photon energies. However, uncertainty on the effectiveness of AuNPs under clinically relevant megavoltage (MV) radiation energies hinders the clinical translation of AuNP-assisted radiation therapy (RT) paradigm. The aim of this study was to investigate radiosensitization mediated by PSMA-targeted AuNPs irradiated by a 6 MV radiation beam at different depths to explore feasibility of AuNP-assisted prostate cancer RT under clinically relevant conditions. PSMA-targeted AuNPs (PSMA-AuNPs) were synthesized by conjugating PSMA antibodies onto PEGylated AuNPs through EDC/NHS chemistry. Confocal fluorescence microscopy was used to verify the active targeting of the developed PSMA-AuNPs. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to demonstrate the intracellular biodistribution of PSMA-AuNPs. LNCaP prostate cancer cells treated with PSMA-AuNPs were irradiated on a Varian 6 MV LINAC under varying depths (2.5 cm, 10 cm, 20 cm, 30 cm) of solid water. Clonogenic assays were carried out to determine the in vitro cell survival fractions. A Monte Carlo (MC) model developed on TOPAS platform was then employed to determine the nano-scale radial dose distribution around AuNPs, which was subsequently used to predict the radiation dose response of LNCaP cells treated with AuNPs. Two different cell models, with AuNPs located within the whole cell or only in the cytoplasm, were used to assess how the intracellular PSMA-AuNP biodistribution impacts the prostate cancer radiosensitization. Then, MC-based microdosimetry was combined with the local effect model (LEM) to calculate cell survival fraction, which was benchmarked against the in vitro clonogenic assays at different depths. In vitro clonogenic assay of LNCaP cells demonstrated the depth dependence of AuNP radiosensitization under clinical megavoltage beams, with sensitization enhancement ratio (SER) of 1.14 ± 0.03 and 1.55 ± 0.05 at 2.5 cm depth and 30 cm depth, respectively. The MC microdosimetry model showed the elevated percent of low-energy photons in the MV beams at greater depth, consequently resulting in increased dose enhancement ratio (DER) of AuNPs with depth. The AuNP-induced DER reached ~5.7 and ~8.1 at depths of 2.5 cm and 30 cm, respectively. Microdosimetry based LEM accurately predicted the cell survival under 6 MV beams at different depths, for the cell model with AuNPs placed only in the cell cytoplasm. TEM results demonstrated the distribution of PSMA-AuNPs in the cytoplasm, confirming the accuracy of MC microdosimetry based LEM with modelled AuNPs distributed within the cytoplasm. We conclude that AuNP radiosensitization can be achieved under megavoltage clinical radiotherapy energies with a dependence on tumor depth. Furthermore, the combination of Monte Carlo microdosimetry and LEM will be a valuable tool to assist with developing AuNP-aided radiotherapy paradigm and drive clinical translation.

Pharmaceutics. 2022 Oct 17*** epublish ***

Ryder M Schmidt, Daiki Hara, Jorge D Vega, Marwan B Abuhaija, Wensi Tao, Nesrin Dogan, Alan Pollack, John C Ford, Junwei Shi

Department of Radiation Oncology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33136, USA.

email news signup