Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a cancer treatment that employs the production of cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS), subsequently triggering tumor apoptosis and tumor size reduction. However, this approach suffers from insufficient light penetration depth. In order to mitigate this issue, pollen-structured gold clusters (PSGCs) were designed for mediating X-ray-induced PDT for radiotherapy enhancement. The structure of PSGCs provides a large surface area that is able to generate ROS upon X-ray irradiation. The synthesized PSGCs were exposed to different X-ray doses and the generated ROS was then quantified by dihydroethidium (DHE) assay. Furthermore, at the cellular level, the PDT efficacy of PSGCs was evaluated via immunofluorescence staining with γ-H2AX and comet assay. The results demonstrated that PSGCs possess a significantly high ROS-generating capacity and a remarkable PDT efficacy in the treatment of breast cancer cells, thus showing potential clinical uses in deep-tissue cancer treatment.
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