Mesoporous silica nanomaterial is one of the most promising candidates as drug carrier for cancer therapy. Herein, in vitro and in vivo study of silica nanorattle (SN) with mesoporous and rattle-type structure as a drug delivery system was first reported. Hydrophobic antitumor drug docetaxel (Dtxl) was loaded into the PEGylated silica nanorattle (SN-PEG) with a diameter of 125 nm via electrostatic absorption. In human liver cancer cell Hep-G2, the half-maximum inhibiting concentration (IC50) of silica nanorattle encapsulated docetaxel (SN-PEG-Dtxl) was only 7% of that of free Dtxl at 72 h. In vivo toxicity assessment showed that both nanocarrier of silica nanorattle (40 mg/kg, single dose) and SN-PEG-Dtxl (20 mg/kg of Dtxl, three doses) had low systematic toxicity in healthy ICR mice. The SN-PEG-Dtxl (20 mg/kg, intravenously) showed greater antitumor activity with about 15% enhanced tumor inhibition rate compared with Taxotere on the marine hepatocarcinoma 22 subcutaneous model. The results prove that the SN-PEG-Dtxl has low toxicity and high therapy efficacy, which provides convincing evidence for the silica nanorattle as a promising candidate for a drug delivery system.
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