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.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science B.V.