Nanoparticle therapeutics: an emerging treatment modality for cancer

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2008 Sep;7(9):771-82. doi: 10.1038/nrd2614.


Nanoparticles--particles in the size range 1-100 nm--are emerging as a class of therapeutics for cancer. Early clinical results suggest that nanoparticle therapeutics can show enhanced efficacy, while simultaneously reducing side effects, owing to properties such as more targeted localization in tumours and active cellular uptake. Here, we highlight the features of nanoparticle therapeutics that distinguish them from previous anticancer therapies, and describe how these features provide the potential for therapeutic effects that are not achievable with other modalities. While large numbers of preclinical studies have been published, the emphasis here is placed on preclinical and clinical studies that are likely to affect clinical investigations and their implications for advancing the treatment of patients with cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents