Super magnetic niosomal nanocarrier as a new approach for treatment of breast cancer: a case study on SK-BR-3 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines

Elham Jamshidifar, Faten Eshrati Yeganeh, Mona Shayan, Mohammad Tavakkoli Yaraki*, Mahsa Bourbour, Ali Moammeri, Iman Akbarzadeh, Hassan Noorbazargan, Nikoo Hossein-Khannazer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
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In the present study, a magnetic niosomal nanocarrier for co-delivery of curcumin and letrozole into breast cancer cells has been designed. The magnetic NiCoFe2O4 core was coated by a thin layer of silica, followed by a niosomal structure, allowing us to load letrozole and curcumin into the silica layer and niosomal layer, respectively, and investigate their synergic effects on breast cancer cells. Furthermore, the nanocarriers demonstrated a pH-dependent release due to the niosomal structure at their outer layer, which is a promising behavior for cancer treatment. Additionally, cellular assays revealed that the nanocarriers had low cellular uptake in the case of non-tumorigenic cells (i.e., MCF-10A) and related high viability but high cellular uptake in cancer cell lines (i.e., MDA-MB-231 and SK-BR-3) and related low viability, which is evidenced in their high cytotoxicity against different breast cancer cell lines. The cytotoxicity of the letrozole/curcumin co-loaded nanocarrier is higher than that of the aqueous solutions of both drugs, indicating their enhanced cellular uptake in their encapsulated states. In particular, NiCoFe2O4@L-Silica-L@C-Niosome showed the highest cytotoxicity effects on MDA-MB-231 and SK-BR-3 breast cancer cells. The observed cytotoxicity was due to regulation of the expression levels of the studied genes in breast cancer cells, where downregulation was observed for the Bcl-2, MMP 2, MMP 9, cyclin D, and cyclin E genes while upregulation of the expression of the Bax, caspase-3, and caspase-9 genes was observed. The flow cytometry results also revealed that NiCoFe2O4@L-Silica-L@C-Niosome enhanced the apoptosis rate in both MDA-MB-231 and SK-BR-3 cells compared to the control samples. The findings of our research show the potential of designing magnetic niosomal formulations for simultaneous targeted delivery of both hydrophobic and hydrophilic drugs into cancer cells in order to enhance their synergic chemotherapeutic effects. These results could open new avenues into the future of nanomedicine and the development of theranostic agents.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7948
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number15
Early online date26 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • co-delivery
  • magnetic
  • niosome
  • silica
  • breast cancer
  • chemotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Magnetic
  • Breast cancer
  • Co-delivery
  • Niosome
  • Silica


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