Synthesis and characterization of inhalable flavonoid nanoparticle for lung cancer cell targeting

Wing-Hin Lee, Ching-Yee Loo, Hui-Xin Ong, Daniela Traini, Paul M. Young, Ramin Rohanizadeh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Current cancer treatments are not adequate to cure cancer disease, as most chemotherapeutic drugs do not differentiate between cancerous and non-cancerous cells; which lead to systemic toxicity and adverse effects. We have developed a promising approach to deliver a potential anti-cancer compound (curcumin) for lung cancer treatment through pulmonary delivery. Three different sizes of curcumin micellar nanoparticles (Cur-NPs) were fabricated and their cytotoxicity effects (proliferation, apoptosis, cell cycle progression) were evaluated against non-small-cell lung cancer, human lung carcinoma (A549) and human lung adenocarcinoma (Calu-3). The in vitro cytotoxicity assay showed that Cur-NPs were more effective to kill lung cancer cells compared to DMSO-solubilised raw curcumin. The potency of the anti-cancer killing activities was size-dependent. Both raw curcumin and Cur-NPs were not toxic to healthy lung cells (BEAS-2B). Smaller Cur-NPs accumulated within nucleus, membrane and cytoplasm. Cur-NPs also induced apoptosis and caused G2/M arrest in both A549 and Calu-3 cell lines. Compared to raw curcumin, Cur-NPs were more effective in suppressing the expression of the inflammatory marker, Interleukin-8 (IL8). The aerosol performance of Cur-NPs was characterized using the next generation impactor (NGI). All Cur-NPs showed promising aerosolization property with mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) and geometric standard deviation (GSD) ranging between 4.8-5.2 and 2.0-2.1, respectively. This study suggests that inhaled curcumin nanoparticles could potentially be used for lung cancer treatment with minimal side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-386
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Biomedical Nanotechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cellular Uptake
  • Curcumin Particles
  • Inhalation
  • Lung Cancer


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