Application of nanotechnology in the diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer

J Nanobiotechnology. 2021 Nov 27;19(1):393. doi: 10.1186/s12951-021-01104-y.


Bladder cancer (BC) is a common malignancy in the genitourinary system and the current theranostic approaches are unsatisfactory. Sensitivity and specificity of current diagnosis methods are not ideal and high recurrence and progression rates after initial treatment indicate the urgent need for management improvements in clinic. Nanotechnology has been proposed as an effective method to improve theranosis efficiency for both non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) and muscle invasive bladder cancer (MIBC). For example, gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have been developed for simple, fast and sensitive urinary sample test for bladder cancer diagnosis. Nanoparticles targeting bladder cancers can facilitate to distinguish the normal and abnormal bladder tissues during cystoscopy and thus help with the complete removal of malignant lesions. Both intravenous and intravesical agents can be modified by nanotechnology for targeted delivery, high anti-tumor efficiency and excellent tolerability, exhibiting encouraging potential in bladder cancer treatment. Photosensitizers and biological agents can also be delivered by nanotechnology, intermediating phototherapy and targeted therapy. The management of bladder cancer remained almost unchanged for decades with unsatisfactory effect. However, it is likely to change with the fast-developed nanotechnology. Herein we summarized the current utility of nanotechnology in bladder cancer diagnosis and treatment, providing insights for the future designing and discovering novel nanoparticles for bladder cancer management.

Keywords: Bladder cancer; Diagnosis; Nanoparticles; Nanotechnology; Therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nanoparticles* / chemistry
  • Nanoparticles* / metabolism
  • Nanoparticles* / therapeutic use
  • Theranostic Nanomedicine*
  • Urinary Bladder / diagnostic imaging
  • Urinary Bladder / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder / surgery
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms* / therapy