Targeting anticancer drugs to tumor vasculature using cationic liposomes

Pharm Res. 2010 Jul;27(7):1171-83. doi: 10.1007/s11095-010-0110-1. Epub 2010 Mar 24.


Liposomal drug delivery systems improve the therapeutic index of chemotherapeutic agents, and the use of cationic liposomes to deliver anticancer drugs to solid tumors has recently been recognized as a promising therapeutic strategy to improve the effectiveness of conventional chemotherapeutics. This review summarizes the selective targeting of cationic liposomes to tumor vasculature, the merits of incorporating the polymer polyethylene-glycol (PEG), and the impact of the molar percent of the cationic lipid included in cationic liposomes on liposomal targeting efficacy. In addition, the discussion herein includes the therapeutic benefit of a dual targeting approach, using PEG-coated cationic liposomes in vascular targeting (of tumor endothelial cells), and tumor targeting (of tumor cells) of anticancer drugs. Cationic liposomes have shown considerable promise in preclinical xenograft models and are poised for clinical development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cations / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Liposomes / administration & dosage*
  • Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cations
  • Liposomes