The objective of the present study was to investigate the specific drug targeting of anticarcinogenic drugs, such as camptothecin (CA), after intravenous (i.v.) injection by incorporation into solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN). A CA loaded SLN suspension consisted of 0.1% (w/w) camptothecin, 2.0% (w/w) stearic acid, 1.5% (w/w) soybean lecithin and 0.5% (w/w) polyoxyethylene-polyoxypropylene copolymer (Poloxamer 188) was prepared by high pressure homogenization. In vitro drug release was investigated in pH 7.4 phosphate-buffered saline at 37 degrees C. The concentrations of camptothecin in various organs were determined using reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography with a fluorescence detector after i.v. administration of CA-SLN and a camptothecin control solution (CA-Sol). The results showed that the CA-SLN had an average diameter 196.8 nm with a Zeta potential of -69.3 mV and in vitro drug release was achieved for up to a week. In tested organs, the AUC/dose and the mean residence times (MRT) of CA-SLN were much higher than those of CA-Sol, especially in brain, heart and reticuloendothelial cells containing organs. The brain AUC ratio of CA-SLN to CA-Sol was the highest among the tested organs. These results indicate that SLN are a promising sustained release and drug targeting system for lipophilic antitumour drugs, and may also allow a reduction in dosage and a decrease in systemic toxicity.