Lipid- and polymer-based nanostructures for cancer theranostics

Theranostics. 2012;2(12):1117-26. doi: 10.7150/thno.4381. Epub 2012 Dec 10.


The relatively new field of nanotheranostics combines the advantages of in vivo diagnosis with the ability to administer treatment through a single nano-sized carrier, offering new opportunities for cancer diagnosis and therapy. Nanotheranostics has facilitated the development of nanomedicine through direct visualization of drug blood circulation and biodistribution. From a clinical perspective, nanotheranostics allows therapies to be administered and monitored in real time, thus decreasing the potential of under- or over-dosing and allowing for more personalized treatment regimens. Herein, we review recent development of nanotheranostics using lipid- and polymer-based formulations, with a particular focus on their applications in cancer research. Recent advances in nanotechnology aimed to combine therapeutic molecules with imaging agents for magnetic resonance imaging, radionuclide imaging, or fluorescence imaging are discussed.

Keywords: fluorescence imaging; liposomes; magnetic resonance imaging; nanotheranostics; polymeric nanoparticles; radionuclide imaging.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Lipids / therapeutic use*
  • Liposomes / chemistry
  • Nanostructures / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Polymers* / therapeutic use


  • Lipids
  • Liposomes
  • Polymers