Silver nanoparticles: synthesis, properties, and therapeutic applications

Drug Discov Today. 2015 May;20(5):595-601. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2014.11.014. Epub 2014 Dec 24.


Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have been widely used in biomedical fields because of their intrinsic therapeutic properties. Here, we introduce methods of synthesizing AgNPs and discuss their physicochemical, localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) and toxicity properties. We also review the impact of AgNPs on human health and the environment along with the underlying mechanisms. More importantly, we highlight the newly emerging applications of AgNPs as antiviral agents, photosensitizers and/or radiosensitizers, and anticancer therapeutic agents in the treatment of leukemia, breast cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, lung cancer, and skin and/or oral carcinoma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Metal Nanoparticles / adverse effects
  • Metal Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Metal Nanoparticles / therapeutic use*
  • Nanomedicine / methods*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Risk Assessment
  • Silver Compounds / adverse effects
  • Silver Compounds / chemical synthesis*
  • Silver Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Surface Properties
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • Silver Compounds