Cancer nanomedicine: from targeted delivery to combination therapy

Trends Mol Med. 2015 Apr;21(4):223-32. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2015.01.001. Epub 2015 Feb 2.


The advent of nanomedicine marks an unparalleled opportunity to advance the treatment of various diseases, including cancer. The unique properties of nanoparticles (NPs), such as large surface-to-volume ratio, small size, the ability to encapsulate various drugs, and tunable surface chemistry, give them many advantages over their bulk counterparts. This includes multivalent surface modification with targeting ligands, efficient navigation of the complex in vivo environment, increased intracellular trafficking, and sustained release of drug payload. These advantages make NPs a mode of treatment potentially superior to conventional cancer therapies. This review highlights the most recent developments in cancer treatment using NPs as drug delivery vehicles, including promising opportunities in targeted and combination therapy.

Keywords: cancer; combination therapy; nanomedicine; targeted delivery.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods*
  • Delayed-Action Preparations*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry
  • Drug Carriers / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Nanomedicine / methods*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • RNA Interference


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Drug Carriers