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01.12.2012 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2012 Open Access

World Journal of Surgical Oncology 1/2012

Magnetic nanoparticles sensitize MCF-7 breast cancer cells to doxorubicin-induced apoptosis

World Journal of Surgical Oncology > Ausgabe 1/2012
Khaled Aljarrah, Nizar M Mhaidat, M-Ali H Al-Akhras, Ahmad N Aldaher, BA Albiss, Khaled Aledealat, Fawzi M Alsheyab
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1477-7819-10-62) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

All authors substantially contributed to the manuscript and approved the final submission.



Resistance of breast cancer cells to the available chemotherapeutics is a major obstacle to successful treatment. Recent studies have shown that magnetic nanoparticles might have significant application in different medical fields including cancer treatment. The goal of this study is to verify the ability of magnetic nanoparticles to sensitize cancer cells to the clinically available chemotherapy.


The role of iron oxide nanoparticles, static magnetic field, or a combination in the enhancement of the apoptotic potential of doxorubicin against the resistant breast cancer cells, MCF-7 was evaluated using the MTT assay and the propidium iodide method.


In the present study, results revealed that pre-incubation of MCF-7 cells with iron oxide nanoparticles before the addition of doxorubicin did not enhance doxorubicin-induced growth inhibition. Pre-incubation of MCF-7 cells with iron oxide nanoparticles followed by a static magnetic field exposure significantly (P < 0.05) increased doxorubicin-induced cytotoxicity. Sensitization with pre-exposure to the magnetic field was dose-dependent where the highest cytotoxicity was seen at 1 tesla. Further experiments revealed that the anti-proliferative effect of this treatment procedure is due to induction of apoptotic cell death.


These results might point to the importance of combining magnetic nanoparticles with a static magnetic field in treatment of doxorubicin-refractory breast cancer cells.
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