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Anti-metastatic cancer activity of ultrasonic synthesized reduced graphene oxide/copper composites

Ahmad S. Kodous, M. M. Atta, Gehan R. Abdel-Hamid, and H. A. Ashry

Radiation Biology Department, National Center for Radiation Research and Technology (NCRRT), Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA), Cairo, Egypt



Received: 17 July 2021  Accepted: 7 September 2021


In this paper, different nanocomposites based on copper metal particles (Cu) grown on reduced graphene oxide (RGO) were synthesized by the cost-effective, one-step, and facile sonochemical approach. The prepared nanocomposites were applied as an anticancer agent for breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7). The sonication of graphene oxide (GO) solution in the presence of Cu transformed it into RGO. By varying Cu concentration (x) in GO solution, series of RGO/Cux nanocomposites were obtained (where x = 15, 30, and 50%). The reduction degree of RGO was dependent on Cu concentration, as revealed by XRD and FTIR. Raman spectroscopy revealed the increased defect level of RGO/Cu nanocomposites compared to GO. From TGA, the thermal stability of nanocomposites was increased by increasing Cu concentration. The smooth GO sheets were restacked upon the incorporation of Cu, as shown by SEM. The size of Cu nanoparticles size was decreased upon sonication, as revealed by HRTEM. It found that all prepared RGO/Cu nanocomposites have MCF-7 inhibition, but RGO/Cu30 shows the most inhibition. Also, the gene expressions of Cathepsin D, MMP9, and Bcl-2 decreased, and p53 increased by RGO/Cu30, which induced anti-metastatic activity and apoptosis in MCF-7 cells. RGO/Cu30, we concluded, can be employed as an anti-metastatic agent by inhibiting Cathepsin D and MMP9, as well as an anticancer agent by inducing P53 and inhibiting Bcl-2 expression.

Keywords: Anti-metastatic; Copper; Graphene oxide; Ultrasound irradiation; Cathepsin D; Gene expression

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-021-01866-7


Chemical Papers 76 (1) 373–384 (2022)

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