Spatiotemporal temperature distribution and cancer cell death in response to extracellular hyperthermia induced by gold nanorods

Huang Chiao Huang, Kaushal Rege, Jeffrey J. Heys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


Plasmonic nanoparticles have shown promise in hyperthermic cancer therapy, both in vitro and in vivo. Previous reports have described hyperthermic ablation using targeted and nontargeted nanoparticles internalized by cancer cells, but most reports do not describe a theoretical analysis for determining optimal parameters. The focus of the current research was first to evaluate the spatiotemporal temperature distribution and cell death induced by extracellular hyperthermia in which gold nanorods (GNRs) were maintained in the dispersion outside human prostate cancer cells. The nanorod dispersion was irradiated with near-infrared (NIR) laser, and the spatiotemporal distribution of temperature was determined experimentally. This information was employed to develop and validate theoretical models of spatiotemporal temperature profiles for gold nanorod dispersions undergoing laser irradiation and the impact of the resulting heat generation on the viability of human prostate cancer cells. A cell injury/death model was then coupled to the heat transfer model to predict spatial and temporal variations in cell death and injury. The model predictions agreed well with experimental measurements of both temperature and cell death profiles. Finally, the model was extended to examine the impact of selective binding of gold nanorods to cancer cells compared to nonmalignant cells, coupled with a small change in cell injury activation energy. The impact of these relatively minor changes results in a dramatic change in the overall cell death rate. Taken together, extracellular hyperthermia using gold nanorods is a promising strategy, and tailoring the cellular binding efficacy of nanorods can result in varying therapeutic efficacies using this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2892-2900
Number of pages9
JournalACS nano
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 25 2010


  • Gold nanorods
  • Heat transfer
  • Hyperthermia
  • Modeling
  • Plasmonic nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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