Comparison of Four Common Gold Nanoparticles for Photothermal Cancer Therapy: A Review


  • Sabrina N. Saiphoo Ryerson University, Canada
  • Cassidy M. Rose Ryerson University, Canada
  • Alexander T. Dunn Ryerson University, Canada
  • Dwij J. Padia Ryerson University, Canada
  • Muhammad Hasibul Hasan Ryerson University, Canada



Current cancer treatment options, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, often cause damage to healthy tissue and reduce a patient's quality of life with well-known side effects, such as pain, infection and nerve damage. Recent research has shown that gold nanoparticles used as photothermal agents in photothermal therapy may pose as an alternative to traditional treatments. This great potential is due to their ability to selectively accumulate in cancerous tissue, efficiently absorb near-infrared light, and kill cancerous tissue without harming surrounding cells. Gold nanoparticles show promise in increasing treatment efficacy and reducing the side effects associated with cancer therapy. While recent studies show the potential of gold nanoparticles, the existing literature is limited in drawing comparisons between studies and practical use for photothermal therapy. This paper reviews notable studies on four common gold nanoparticles used in the therapeutic treatment of cancer: gold nanocages, gold nanospheres, gold nanorods, and gold nanoshells. By comparing key characteristics of the particles’, including their synthesis, toxicity, absorption spectrum, and selective photothermal lethality, gold nanospheres can be recommended for use in photothermal therapy. Although forms of each gold nanoparticle were found to have a low toxicity, gold nanospheres can be rapidly synthesized and appear to exceed in selective photothermal lethality and immature tumour accumulation. Due to these advantages in using gold nanospheres for photothermal therapy, cancer could be treated more effectively and improve patient prognosis.



How to Cite

Saiphoo, S. N., Rose, C. M., Dunn, A. T., Padia, D. J., & Hasan, M. H. (2020). Comparison of Four Common Gold Nanoparticles for Photothermal Cancer Therapy: A Review. International Journal of Engineering Materials and Manufacture, 5(4), 116–129.




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