An activatable nanoprobe for imaging breast cancer metastases through near infrared-I (NIR-I)/NIR-II fluorescence imaging and multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) imaging was designed. With a dihydroxanthene moiety serving as the electron donor, quinolinium as the electron acceptor and nitrobenzyloxydiphenylamino as the recognition element, the probe can specifically respond to nitroreductase and transform into an activated D-π-A structure with a NIR emission band extending beyond 900 nm. The activated nanoprobe exhibits NIR emission enhanced by aggregation-induced emission (AIE) and produces strong optoacoustic signal. The nanoprobe was used to detect and image metastases from the orthotopic breast tumors to lymph nodes and then to lung in two breast cancer mouse models. Moreover, the nanoprobe can monitor the treatment efficacy during chemotherapeutic course through fluorescence and MSOT imaging.

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