Near-infrared light-activatable microneedle system for treating superficial tumors by combination of chemotherapy and photothermal therapy

Mei Chin Chen, Zhi Wei Lin, Ming Hung Ling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Citations (Scopus)


Because of the aggressive and recurrent nature of cancers, repeated and multimodal treatments are often necessary. Traditional cancer therapies have a risk of serious toxicity and side effects. Hence, it is crucial to develop an alternative treatment modality that is minimally invasive, effectively treats cancers with low toxicity, and can be repeated as required. We developed a light-activatable microneedle (MN) system that can repeatedly and simultaneously provide photothermal therapy and chemotherapy to superficial tumors and exert synergistic anticancer effects. This system consists of embeddable polycaprolactone MNs containing a photosensitive nanomaterial (lanthanum hexaboride) and an anticancer drug (doxorubicin; DOX), and a dissolvable poly(vinyl alcohol)/polyvinylpyrrolidone supporting array patch. Because of this supporting array, the MNs can be completely inserted into the skin and embedded within the target tissue for locoregional cancer treatment. When exposed to near-infrared light, the embedded MN array uniformly heats the target tissue to induce a large thermal ablation area and then melts at 50 °C to release DOX in a broad area, thus destroying tumors. This light-activated heating and releasing behavior can be precisely controlled and switched on and off on demand for several cycles. We demonstrated that the MN-mediated synergistic therapy completely eradicated 4T1 tumors within 1 week after a single application of the MN and three cycles of laser treatment. No tumor recurrence and no significant body weight loss of mice were observed. Thus, the developed light-activatable MN with a unique embeddable feature offers an effective, user-friendly, and low-toxicity option for patients requiring long-term and multiple cancer treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalACS nano
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 26

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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