Research ArticleCANCER

Sight and switch off: Nerve density visualization for interventions targeting nerves in prostate cancer

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  05 Feb 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 6, eaax6040
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax6040


Nerve density is associated with prostate cancer (PCa) aggressiveness and prognosis. Thus far, no visualization methods have been developed to assess nerve density of PCa in vivo. We compounded propranolol-conjugated superparamagnetic iron oxide nerve peptide nanoparticles (PSN NPs), which achieved the nerve density visualization of PCa with high sensitivity and high specificity, and facilitated assessment of nerve density and aggressiveness of PCa using magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic particle imaging. Moreover, PSN NPs facilitated targeted therapy for PCa. PSN NPs increased the survival rate of mice with orthotopic PCa to 83.3% and decreased nerve densities and proliferation indexes by more than twofold compared with the control groups. The present study, thus, developed a technology to visualize the nerve density of PCa and facilitate targeted neural drug delivery to tumors to efficiently inhibit PCa progression. Our study provides a potential basis for clinical imaging and therapeutic interventions targeting nerves in PCa.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances

Editor's Blog