In this study, 2-amino-2-deoxy-glucose (2DG) was conjugated to COOH modified cobalt ferrite magnetic nanoparticles (COOH-MNPs), which were designed to target tumor cells as a potential targetable drug/gene delivery agent for cancer treatment. According to our results, it is apparent that, 2DG labeled MNPs were internalized more efficiently than COOH-MNPs under the same conditions in all cell types (MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 cancer and MCF-10A normal breast cells) (p < 0.001). Moreover, the highest amount of uptake was observed in MDA-MB-231, followed by MCF-7 and normal MCF-10A cells for both MNPs. The apoptotic effects of 2DG-MNPs were further evaluated, and it was found that apoptosis was not induced at low concentrations of 2DG-MNPs in all cell types, whereas dramatic cell death was observed at higher concentrations. In addition, the gene expression levels of four drug-metabolizing enzymes, two Phase I (CYP1A1, CYP1B1) and two Phase II (GSTM3, GSTZ1) were also increased with the high concentrations of 2DG-MNPs. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.