Theranostics 2020; 10(5):2385-2398. doi:10.7150/thno.41708 This issue

Research Paper

Cooperation therapy between anti-growth by photodynamic-AIEgens and anti-metastasis by small molecule inhibitors in ovarian cancer

Jun Dai1*, Min Xu2*, Quan Wang2, Juliang Yang2, Jinjin Zhang1, Pengfei Cui1, Wenwen Wang1, Xiaoding Lou2✉, Fan Xia2✉, Shixuan Wang1✉

1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China.
2. Engineering Research Center of Nano-Geomaterials of the Ministry of Education, Faculty of Materials Science and Chemistry, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China.
* These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Dai J, Xu M, Wang Q, Yang J, Zhang J, Cui P, Wang W, Lou X, Xia F, Wang S. Cooperation therapy between anti-growth by photodynamic-AIEgens and anti-metastasis by small molecule inhibitors in ovarian cancer. Theranostics 2020; 10(5):2385-2398. doi:10.7150/thno.41708. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Metastasis is one of the main causes of death and treatment failure in ovarian cancer. Some small molecule inhibitors can effectively inhibit the metastasis of primary tumors. However, they do not kill the primary tumor cells, which may lead to continuous proliferation. Herein, we have prepared a multifunctional nanoparticles named TPD@TB/KBU2046, which consisted of three functional moieties: (1) KBU2046 (small molecule inhibitor) that can inhibit the metastasis of the primary tumors, (2) TB (photodynamic-AIEgens) that may suppress the growth of the primary tumors, and (3) TPD, which contains TMTP1 (a targeting peptide, which specifically binds to highly metastatic tumor cells) that can enhance the TB/KBU2046 dosage in the tumor site.

Methods: The TPD@TB/KBU2046 was prepared by nano-precipitation method. We linked the targeting peptide (TMTP1) to the nanoparticles via amidation reaction. TPD@TB/KBU2046 nanoparticles were characterized for encapsulation efficiency, particle size, absorption spectra, emission spectra and ROS production. The combinational efficacy in image-guided anti-metastasis and photodynamic therapy of TPD@TB/KBU2046 was explored both in vitro and in vivo.

Results: The TPD@TB/KBU2046 showed an average hydrodynamic size of approximately 50 nm with good stability. In vitro, TPD@TB/KBU2046 not only inhibited the metastasis of the tumors, but also suppressed the growth of the tumors under AIEgens-mediated photodynamic therapy. In vivo, we confirmed that TPD@TB/KBU2046 has the therapeutic effects of anti-tumor growth and anti-metastasis through subcutaneous and orthotopic ovarian tumor models.

Conclusion: Our findings provided an effective strategy to compensate for the congenital defects of some small molecule inhibitors and thus enhanced the therapeutic efficacy of ovarian cancer.

Keywords: anti-metastasis, anti-growth, aggregation-induced emission, small molecule inhibitors, photodynamic therapy