Nanomedicine in cancer therapy: challenges, opportunities, and clinical applications

J Control Release. 2015 Feb 28:200:138-57. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2014.12.030. Epub 2014 Dec 26.


Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. Currently available therapies are inadequate and spur demand for improved technologies. Rapid growth in nanotechnology towards the development of nanomedicine products holds great promise to improve therapeutic strategies against cancer. Nanomedicine products represent an opportunity to achieve sophisticated targeting strategies and multi-functionality. They can improve the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles of conventional therapeutics and may thus optimize the efficacy of existing anti-cancer compounds. In this review, we discuss state-of-the-art nanoparticles and targeted systems that have been investigated in clinical studies. We emphasize the challenges faced in using nanomedicine products and translating them from a preclinical level to the clinical setting. Additionally, we cover aspects of nanocarrier engineering that may open up new opportunities for nanomedicine products in the clinic.

Keywords: Cancer nanomedicine; Clinical trials; Drug delivery; Liposome; Nanoparticle; Targeting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nanomedicine*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*