© 2020 The Author(s) Triple-negative breast cancers are extremely aggressive with limited treatment options because of the reduced response of the cancerous cells to hormonal therapy. Here, monodispersed zinc-containing mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs-Zn) were produced as a tuneable biodegradable platform for delivery of therapeutic zinc ions into cells. We demonstrate that the nanoparticles were internalized by cells, and a therapeutic dose window was identified in which the MSNPs-Zn were toxic to breast cancer cells but not to healthy epithelial (MCF-10a) cells or to murine macrophages. A significant reduction in the viability of triple negative MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 (ER+) breast cancer cells was seen following 24 h exposure to MSNPs-Zn. The more aggressive MDA-MB-231 cells, with higher metastatic potential, were more sensitive to MSNPs-Zn than the MCF-7 cells. MSNPs-Zn underwent biodegradation inside the cells, becoming hollow structures, as imaged by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. The mesoporous silica nanoparticles provide a biodegradable vehicle for therapeutic ion release inside cells.
Materials Today Advances