Emerging inorganic nanomaterials for pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment

Cancer Treat Rev. 2012 Oct;38(6):566-79. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2012.02.003.


Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease with incidence increasing at an alarming rate and survival not improved substantially during the past three decades. Although enormous efforts have been made in early detection and comprehensive treatment for this disease, little or no survival improvement was obtained, which necessitates the development of novel strategies. Emerging inorganic nanomaterials, such as carbon nanotubes, quantum dots, mesoporous silica/gold/supermagnetic nanoparticles, have been widely used in biomedical research with great optimism for cancer diagnosis and therapy. Such nanoparticles possess unique optical, electrical, magnetic and/or electrochemical properties. With such properties along with their impressive nano-size, these particles can be targeted to cancer cells, tissues, and ligands efficiently and monitored with extreme precision in real-time. In additional to liposome, dendrimer, and polymeric nanoparticles, they are considered the most promising nanomaterials with the capability of both cancer detection and multimodality treatment. Emerging approaches to harness nanotechnology to optimize the existing diagnostic and therapeutic tools for pancreatic cancer have been extensively explored during the recent years. Future options for early detection, individual therapy and monitoring responses of pancreatic cancer are focused on multifunctional nanomedicine. In this review, we present the recent development of clinically applicable inorganic nanoparticles, with focus on the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, their advantages in theranostic nanomedicine, and challenges of translation to clinical practice, are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Nanomedicine
  • Nanostructures / therapeutic use*
  • Nanotechnology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Research