J Nanobiotechnology. 2022 Jun 7;20(1):266. doi: 10.1186/s12951-022-01454-1.
Surgical resection to achieve tumor-free margins represents a difficult clinical scenario for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. While post-surgical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy can decrease the risk of cancer recurrence and metastasis, growing concerns about the complications and side effects have promoted the development of implantable systems for locoregional treatment. Herein, 3D printed hydrogel scaffolds (designed as Gel-SA-CuO) were developed by incorporating one agent with multifunctional performance into implantable devices to simplify the fabrication process for efficiently inhibiting postoperative tumor recurrence. CuO nanoparticles can be effectively controlled and sustained released during the biodegradation of hydrogel scaffolds. Notably, the released CuO nanoparticles not only function as the reservoir for releasing Cu2+ to produce intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) but also serve as photothermal agent to generate heat. Remarkably, the heat generated by photothermal conversion of CuO nanoparticles further promotes the efficiency of Fenton-like reaction. Additionally, ferroptosis can be induced through Cu2+-mediated GSH depletion via the inactivation of GPX4. By implanting hydrogel scaffolds in the resection site, efficient inhibition of tumor recurrence after primary resection can be achieved in vivo. Therefore, this study may pave the way for the development of advanced multifunctional implantable platform for eliminating postoperative relapsable cancers.