Lymph node mapping for tumor micrometastasis is of great significance for the prevention, prognosis, and treatment of cancer. Currently, the traditional clinical detection methods (computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, or positron emission tomography/computed tomography) in clinical lymph node mapping still have some inherent disadvantages, which have prompted the development of various fluorescent probes for lymph node mapping. However, the conventional fluorescent probes such as indocyanine green or methylene blue in lymph node mapping are still accompanied by several problems such as impaired surgical field vision due to dye staining or less accumulation and shorter retention time in the lymph node. In a recent achievement, newly designed nanoparticles are prepared with novel properties that could be attractive for lymph node mapping. In this review, we will provide details on the progress of various nanoparticles for lymph node mapping and emphasize other multivariant properties in different nanoparticles, including strong tumor-targeting affinity and specificity, self-luminescence, and even with the function to kill metastatic cancer cells.
Keywords: fluorescent nanoparticles; fluorescent probes; lymph node mapping; micrometastasis; self-illuminating nanoparticles.