Selenium nanoparticles trigger alterations in ovarian cancer cell biomechanics

Benoit Toubhans, Salvatore Andrea Gazze, Caroline Bissardon, Sylvain Bohic, Alexandra T. Gourlan, Deyarina Gonzalez, Laurent Charlet, R. Steven Conlan, Lewis W. Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


High dose selenium acts as a cytotoxic agent, with potential applications in cancer treatment. However, clinical trials have failed to show any chemotherapeutic value of selenium at safe and tolerated doses (<90 μg/day). To enable the successful exploitation of selenium for cancer treatment, we evaluated inorganic selenium nanoparticles (SeNP), and found them effective in inhibiting ovarian cancer cell growth. In both SKOV-3 and OVCAR-3 ovarian cancer cell types SeNP treatment resulted in significant cytotoxicity. The two cell types displayed contrasting nanomechanical responses to SeNPs, with decreased surface roughness and membrane stiffness, characteristics of OVCAR-3 cell death. In SKOV-3, cell membrane surface roughness and stiffness increased, both properties associated with decreased metastatic potential. The beneficial effects of SeNPs on ovarian cancer cell death appear cell type dependent, and due to their low in vivo toxicity offer an exciting opportunity for future cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102258
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Metastasis
  • Nanomechanics
  • Nanoparticles
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Selenium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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