Nanoparticle-based hyperthermia, a local treatment modulating the tumor extracellular matrix

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Abstract

The structural complexity and physical properties of the tumor microenvironment negatively affect the penetration and efficiency of conventional anticancer drugs. While previously underestimated, the tumor microenvironment now becomes a potential target for cancer treatment. This microenvironment can be modulated either systemically by pharmacological means, or locally, through physical effects mediated by certain nanoparticles. Some of them, such as magnetic, plasmonic or carbon-based nanoparticles, can generate heat on demand in a spatially and temporally controlled manner. In addition, the nanoparticles can be either activated by light or magnetic stimuli. The impact of the resulting local heating can be observed on the ultrastructural level, as it strongly affects the organization of collagen fibers, and on the macroscopic level, since the thermal damages alter the mechanical properties of the tumor. Nanoparticle-based hyperthermia thus improves the effect of conventional anticancer drugs, as it allows their better penetration through the altered extracellular matrix. Here we suggest the use of nanoparticle-generated hyperthermia, obtained after magnetic or light activation, as an adjuvant treatment to prime the tumor microenvironment and improve the efficacy of chemotherapy.

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