Background: Graphene oxide (GO) has unique physical and chemical properties that can
be used in anticancer therapy - especially as a drug carrier. Graphene oxide, due to the presence of
several hybrid layers of carbon atoms (sp2), has a large surface for highly efficient drug loading. In
addition, GO with a large number of carboxyl, hydroxyl and epoxy groups on its surface, can charge
various drug molecules through covalent bonds, hydrophobic interactions, hydrogen bonds and electrostatic
Objective: The aim of our work was to evaluate the possibility of future use of graphene oxide as an
anticancer drug carrier.
Methods: In this paper, we present GO synthesis and characterization, as well as a study of its biological
properties. The cytotoxic effect of well-defined graphene oxide was tested on both carcinoma
and non-malignant cells isolated from the same organ, which is not often presented in the literature.
Results: The performed research confirmed that GO in high concentrations (> 300 µgmL-1) selectively
decreased the viability of cancer cell line. Additionally, we showed that the GO flakes have a
high affinity to cancer cell nucleus which influences their metabolism (inhibition of cancer cell proliferation).
Moreover, we have proved that GO in high concentrations can cause cell membrane
damage and generate reactive oxygen species on a low level mainly in cancer cells.
Conclusion: The proposed GO could be useful in anticancer therapy. A high concentration of GO
selectively causes the death of tumor cells, whereas GO with low concentration could be a potential
material for anticancer drug loading.