Dendrimer nanoarchitectures for cancer diagnosis and anticancer drug delivery

Drug Discov Today. 2017 Feb;22(2):314-326. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2016.09.013. Epub 2016 Sep 23.


Dendrimers are novel nanoarchitectures with unique properties including a globular 3D shape, a monodispersed unimicellar nature and a nanometric size range. The availability of multiple peripheral functional groups and tunable surface engineering enable the facile modification of the dendrimer surface with different therapeutic drugs, diagnostic agents and targeting ligands. Drug encapsulation, and solubilizing and passive targeting also equally contribute to the therapeutic use of dendrimers. In this review, we highlight recent advances in the delivery of anticancer drugs using dendrimers, as well as other biomedical and diagnostic applications. Taken together, the immense potential and utility of dendrimers are envisaged to have a significant positive impact on the growing arena of drug delivery and targeting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Dendrimers / administration & dosage*
  • Dendrimers / chemistry
  • Dendrimers / therapeutic use
  • Dendrimers / toxicity
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Nanostructures / administration & dosage*
  • Nanostructures / chemistry
  • Nanostructures / therapeutic use
  • Nanostructures / toxicity
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Dendrimers