Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy of the anti-cancer drug irinotecan in presence of human serum albumin

A. Vicario, V. Sergo, G. Toffoli, A. Bonifacio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of nanotechnological devices and their clinical application in medicine has become increasingly important, especially in the context of targeted and personalized therapy. This is particularly important in cancer therapy, where antitumor drugs are highly cytotoxic and often exert their therapeutic effect at concentrations close to systemic toxicity. In the last years a growing number of studies has started to report the use of plasmonic nanoprobes in the field of theranostics, broadening the application of vibrational spectroscopies like Raman scattering and surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) in biomedicine. The present work aims to identify and characterize the vibrational profiles of a widely used anticancer drug, irinotecan (CPT-11). With a rational approach, SERS experiments have been performed on this analyte employing both Au and Ag colloids, starting from simple aqueous solutions up to albumin mixtures. A major step forward for drug detection in albumin solutions has been taken with the adoption of a simple deproteinization strategy, and a two-in-one-step separation and identification by coupling thin layer chromatography, TLC, with SERS (TLC-SERS). The latter has revealed to be a valid system for protein separation and simultaneous analyte detection, showing a potential to become an innovative, sensitive and low cost method for antineoplastic drug profiling in patients' body fluids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Albumin
  • Irinotecan
  • SERS
  • Thin layer chromatography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Medicine(all)


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