Targeting SOD1 via RNAi with PEGylated graphene oxide nanoparticles in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer

Attila Szénási, Enakshi Sivasudhan, Hong Du, Peizhuo Zhang, Jie Huang, Zhijun Zhang, Sonia Rocha, Mu Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Acquired platinum resistance poses a significant therapeutic impediment to ovarian cancer patient care, accounting for more than 200,000 deaths annually worldwide. We previously identified that overexpression of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) in ovarian cancer is associated with a platinum-resistant phenotype via conferring oxidative stress resistance against platinum compounds. We further demonstrated that enzymatic inhibition using small-molecule inhibitors or silencing of SOD1 via RNA interference (RNAi) increased cisplatin sensitivity and potency in vitro. We launched this study to explore the potential therapeutic applications of SOD1 silencing in vivo in order to reverse cisplatin resistance using a graphene-based siRNA delivery platform. PEGylated graphene oxide (GO) polyethyleneimine (GOPEI-mPEG) nanoparticle was complexed with SOD1 siRNA. GOPEI-mPEG-siSOD1 exhibited high biocompatibility, siRNA loading capacity, and serum stability, and showed potent downregulation of SOD1 mRNA and protein levels. We further observed that cisplatin and PEI elicited mitochondrial dysfunction and transcriptionally activated the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) used as a reporter for their respective cytotoxicities. SOD1 silencing was found to augment cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity resulting in considerable tumour growth inhibition in cisplatin-sensitive A2780 and cisplatin-resistant A2780DDP subcutaneous mouse xenografts. Our study highlights the potential therapeutic applicability of RNAi-mediated targeting of SOD1 as a chemosensitizer for platinum-resistant ovarian cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1554-1568
Number of pages15
JournalCancer Gene Therapy
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


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