Treating metastatic cancer with nanotechnology

Nat Rev Cancer. 2011 Dec 23;12(1):39-50. doi: 10.1038/nrc3180.


Metastasis accounts for the vast majority of cancer deaths. The unique challenges for treating metastases include their small size, high multiplicity and dispersion to diverse organ environments. Nanoparticles have many potential benefits for diagnosing and treating metastatic cancer, including the ability to transport complex molecular cargoes to the major sites of metastasis, such as the lungs, liver and lymph nodes, as well as targeting to specific cell populations within these organs. This Review highlights the research, opportunities and challenges for integrating engineering sciences with cancer biology and medicine to develop nanotechnology-based tools for treating metastatic disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Carriers
  • Humans
  • Nanoparticles / therapeutic use
  • Nanostructures / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / diagnosis
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / drug therapy*
  • Particle Size


  • Drug Carriers