In Vitro Analysis of Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Coated with APTES as Possible Radiosensitizers for HNSCC Cells
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) are being investigated for many purposes, e.g., for the amplification of ionizing radiation and for the targeted application of therapeutics. Therefore, we investigated SPIONs coated with (3-Aminopropyle)-Triethoxysilane (SPION-APTES) for their influence on different head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines, as well as for their suitability as a radiosensitizer. We used 24-well microscopy and immunofluorescence microscopy for cell observation, growth curves to determine cytostatic effects, and colony formation assays to determine cytotoxicity. We found that the APTES-SPIONs were very well taken up by the HNSCC cells. They generally have a low cytotoxic effect, showing no significant difference in clonogenic survival between the control group and cells treated with 20 µg Fe/mL ( p > 0.25) for all cell lines. They have a cytostatic effect on some cell lines cells (e.g., Cal33) that is visible across different radiation doses (1, 2, 8 Gy, p = 0.05). In Cal33, e.g., SPION-APTES raised the doubling time at 2 Gy from 24.53 h to 41.64 h. Importantly, these findings vary notably between the cell lines. However, they do not significantly alter the radiation effect: only one out of eight cell lines treated with SPION-APTES showed a significantly reduced clonogenic survival after ionizing radiation with 2 Gy, and only two showed significantly reduced doubling times. Thus, although the APTES-SPIONs do not qualify as a radiosensitizer, we were still able to vividly demonstrate and analyze the effect that the APTES-SPIONs have on various cell lines as a contribution to further functionalization.