Targeting negative surface charges of cancer cells by multifunctional nanoprobes

Bingdi Chen, Wenjun Le, Yilong Wang, Zhuoquan Li, Dong Wang, Lei Ren, Ling Lin, Shaobin Cui, Jennifer J. Hu, Yihui Hu, Pengyuan Yang, Rodney C. Ewing, Donglu Shi, Zheng Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


A set of electrostatically charged, fluorescent, and superparamagnetic nanoprobes was developed for targeting cancer cells without using any molecular biomarkers. The surface electrostatic properties of the established cancer cell lines and primary normal cells were characterized by using these nanoprobes with various electrostatic signs and amplitudes. All twenty two randomly selected cancer cell lines of different organs, but not normal control cells, bound specifically to the positively charged nanoprobes. The relative surface charges of cancer cells could be quantified by the percentage of cells captured magnetically. The activities of glucose metabolism had a profound impact on the surface charge level of cancer cells. The data indicate that an elevated glycolysis in the cancer cells led to a higher level secretion of lactate. The secreted lactate anions are known to remove the positive ions, leaving behind the negative changes on the cell surfaces. This unique metabolic behavior is responsible for generating negative cancer surface charges in a perpetuating fashion. The metabolically active cancer cells are shown to a unique surface electrostatic pattern that can be used for recovering cancer cells from the circulating blood and other solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1887-1898
Number of pages12
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2016


  • Biomarker
  • Cell metabolism
  • Glycolysis
  • Lactate secretion
  • Nanoprobe
  • Surface charge
  • Targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Targeting negative surface charges of cancer cells by multifunctional nanoprobes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this