Smart Drug Delivery Systems in Cancer Therapy

Curr Drug Targets. 2018 Feb 8;19(3):202-212. doi: 10.2174/1389450117666160401124624.


Background: Smart nanocarriers have been designed for tissue-specific targeted drug delivery, sustained or triggered drug release and co-delivery of synergistic drug combinations to develop safer and more efficient therapeutics.

Objective: Advances in drug delivery systems provide reduced side effects, longer circulation half-life and improved pharmacokinetics.

Results: Smart drug delivery systems have been achieved successfully in the case of cancer. These nanocarriers can serve as an intelligent system by considering the differences of tumor microenvironment from healthy tissue, such as low pH, low oxygen level, or high enzymatic activity of matrix metalloproteinases.

Conclusion: The performance of anti-cancer agents used in cancer diagnosis and therapy is improved by enhanced cellular internalization of smart nanocarriers and controlled drug release. Here, we review targeting, cellular internalization; controlled drug release and toxicity of smart drug delivery systems. We are also emphasizing the stimulus responsive controlled drug release from smart nanocarriers.

Keywords: Smart drug delivery; nanocarriers; smart nanocarriers; stimulus responsive drug release; targeted cancer therapy; targeted durg delivery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Drug Carriers / administration & dosage
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Drug Liberation
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Nanotechnology
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Organ Specificity


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drug Carriers