Nanoparticles in cancer therapy and diagnosis

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2002 Sep 13;54(5):631-51. doi: 10.1016/s0169-409x(02)00044-3.


Numerous investigations have shown that both tissue and cell distribution profiles of anticancer drugs can be controlled by their entrapment in submicronic colloidal systems (nanoparticles). The rationale behind this approach is to increase antitumor efficacy, while reducing systemic side-effects. This review provides an update of tumor targeting with conventional or long-circulating nanoparticles. The in vivo fate of these systems, after intravascular or tumoral administration, is discussed, as well as the mechanism involved in tumor regression. Nanoparticles are also of benefit for the selective delivery of oligonucleotides to tumor cells. Moreover, certain types of nanoparticles showed some interesting capacity to reverse MDR resistance, which is a major problem in chemotherapy. The first experiments, aiming to decorate nanoparticles with molecular ligand for 'active' targeting of cancerous cells, are also discussed here. The last part of this review focus on the application of nanoparticles in imaging for cancer diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Drug Administration Routes
  • Drug Carriers
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Nanotechnology*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / administration & dosage
  • Particle Size
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Drug Carriers
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense