Near infrared fluorescent nanoparticles derived from hyaluronic acid improve tumor contrast for image-guided surgery

Tanner K. Hill, Sneha S. Kelkar, Nicholas E. Wojtynek, Joshua J. Souchek, William M. Payne, Kristina Stumpf, Frank C. Marini, Aaron M. Mohs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Tumor tissue that remains undetected at the primary surgical site can cause tumor recurrence, repeat surgery, and treatment strategy alterations that impose a significant patient and healthcare burden. Intraoperative near infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging is one potential method to identify remaining tumor by visualization of NIR fluorophores that are preferentially localized to the tumor. This requires development of fluorophores that consistently identify tumor tissue in different patients and tumor types. In this study we examined a panel of NIRF contrast agents consisting of polymeric nanoparticle (NP) formulations derived from hyaluronic acid (HA), with either physically entrapped indocyanine green (ICG) or covalently conjugated Cy7.5. Using orthotopic human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 xenografts in nude mice we identified two lead formulations. One, NanoICGPBA, with physicochemically entrapped ICG, showed 2.3-fold greater tumor contrast than ICG alone at 24 h (p < 0.01), and another, NanoCy7.5100-H, with covalently conjugated Cy7.5, showed 74-fold greater tumor contrast than Cy7.5 alone at 24 h (p < 0.0001). These two lead formulations were then tested in immune competent BALB/c mice bearing orthotopic 4T1 breast cancer tumors. NanoICGPBA showed 2.2-fold greater contrast than ICG alone (p < 0.0001), and NanoCy7.5100-H showed 14.8-fold greater contrast than Cy7.5 alone (p < 0.0001). Furthermore, both NanoICGPBA and NanoCy7.5100-H provided strong tumor enhancement using image-guided surgery in mice bearing 4T1 tumors. These studies demonstrate the efficacy of a panel of HA-derived NPs in delineating tumors in vivo, and identifies promising formulations that can be used for future in vivo tumor removal efficacy studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2314-2328
Number of pages15
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2016


  • Near infrared fluorescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)


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