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Hum Exp Toxicol. 2017 Sep;36(9):931-948. doi: 10.1177/0960327116675206. Epub 2016 Nov 4.

Comparison of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity effects of silver nanoparticles on human cervix and breast cancer cell lines.

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1 Center of Nanosciences and Nanotechnology, National Autonomous University of Mexico. Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.
2 Catedras CONACYT Fellow at Center of Nanosciences and Nanotechnology, National Autonomous University of Mexico.
3 Master and Doctoral Program in Science and Engineering at FIAD, Autonomous University of Baja California, Mexico.
4 School of Chemistry, Autonomous University of Baja California, Mexico.
5 Ensenada Center for Science and Research and Higher Education, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.
6 Tomsk Polytechnic University, Tomsk Oblast, Russia.


The wide application of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) has pointed out the need to evaluate their potential risk and toxic effects on human health. Herein, the cytotoxic effects of Argovit™ AgNPs were evaluated on eight cancer cell lines. Further cytotoxic studies were performed in gynecological cancer cell lines from cervical (HeLa) and breast (MDA-MB-231 and MCF7) cancer. In both cases, the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of AgNPs produced the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) after 24 h of incubation, but it was not statistically significant compared with untreated cells. However, HeLa, MDA-MB-231, and MCF7 cells treated with the maximal IC of AgNPs induced the formation of ROS either at 12 or 24 h of incubation. Genotoxicity achieved by comet assay in HeLa, MDA-MB-231, and MCF7 cells revealed that exposure to IC50 of AgNPs does not induced noticeable DNA damage in the cells. However, the IC of AgNPs provoked severe DNA damage after 12 and 24 h of exposure. We conclude that, Argovit (polyvinylpyrrolidone-coated AgNPs) induce a cytotoxic effect in a time and dose-dependent manner in all the eight cancer cell lines tested. Nevertheless, the genotoxic effect is mainly restricted by the concentration effect. The results contribute to explore new therapeutic applications of AgNPs for malignances in murine models and to study in deep the cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of AgNPs in healthy cells at the surrounding tissue of the neoplasia.


Silver nanoparticles; cancer; cytotoxicity; genotoxicity; nanobiotechnology; nanotoxicology; triple-negative breast cancer

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