Theranostics 2020; 10(18):8179-8196. doi:10.7150/thno.44194

Research Paper

Dissolving Microneedles with Spatiotemporally controlled pulsatile release Nanosystem for Synergistic Chemo-photothermal Therapy of Melanoma

Wanbing Qin1#, Guilan Quan2#, Ying Sun1, Minglong Chen1, Peipei Yang3, Disang Feng2, Ting Wen1, Xinyu Hu1, Xin Pan1✉, Chuanbin Wu1,2

1. School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510006, China.
2. College of Pharmacy, Jinan University, Guangzhou, 510632, China.
3. Department of Pharmacy, Guangzhou Women and Children's Medical Center, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 510623, 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.
Qin W, Quan G, Sun Y, Chen M, Yang P, Feng D, Wen T, Hu X, Pan X, Wu C. Dissolving Microneedles with Spatiotemporally controlled pulsatile release Nanosystem for Synergistic Chemo-photothermal Therapy of Melanoma. Theranostics 2020; 10(18):8179-8196. doi:10.7150/thno.44194. Available from

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High aggressiveness and recurrence of melanoma tumors require multiple systemic drug administrations, causing discomfort and severe side effects to the patients. Topical treatment strategies that provide repetitively controllable and precise drug administrations will greatly improve treatment effects.

Methods: In this study, a spatiotemporally controlled pulsatile release system, which combined dissolving microneedles (DMNs) and thermal-sensitive solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs), was constructed to realize multiple doses of dual-modal chemo-photothermal therapy in a single administration. Paclitaxel (PTX) and photothermal agent IR-780 were encapsulated into SLNs and were concentrated in the tips of DMNs (PTX/IR-780 SLNs @DMNs). Equipped with several needles, the DMN patch could be directly inserted into the tumor site and provide a stable “Zone accumulation” to constrain the PTX/IR-780 SLNs at the tumor site with uniform distribution.

Results: In vitro experiments showed that after irradiation with near-infrared light, the PTX/IR-780 SLNs gradually underwent phase transition, thereby accelerating the release of PTX. When irradiation was switched off, the PTX/IR-780 SLNs cooled to re-solidify with limited drug release. Compared with intravenous and intratumoral injections, very few SLNs from PTX/IR-780 SLNs @DMNs were distributed into other organs, resulting in enhanced bioavailability at the tumor site and good safety. In vivo analysis revealed that PTX/IR-780 SLNs @DMNs exhibited significant anti-tumor efficacy. In particular, the primary tumor was completely eradicated with a curable rate of 100% in 30 days and the highest survival rate of 66.67% after 100 days of treatment.

Conclusion: Herein, we developed a DMN system with a unique spatiotemporally controlled pulsatile release feature that provides a user-friendly and low-toxicity treatment route for patients who need long-term and repeat treatments.

Keywords: melanoma, dissolving microneedles, solid lipid nanoparticles, triggered release, chemo-photothermal therapy