Liposomes in the Targeted Gene Therapy of Cancer: A Critical Review

Curr Drug Deliv. 2023;20(4):350-370. doi: 10.2174/1567201819666220421113127.


Cancer immunotherapy has advanced significantly in recent years. Nanocarriers like liposomes can improve cancer immunotherapy and even stronger immune responses by improving cell type-specific distribution. Liposomes are lipid bilayer vesicles that are biodegradable and biocompatible and are often used as smart delivery systems for both hydrophobic and hydrophilic bioactive. Whereas the idea of employing liposomes for administering drugs has been known since the 1960s, the early 2000s saw continuing technological advances and formulations for drug entrapment and manufacturing. Modern deterministic studies have tried discovering more about how genetic material is delivered through liposomes. Liposomes' interactions with cells are still a bit of mystery. Liposome-mediated transmission of genetic material experiences systemic impediments perlysosomal degradation, endosomal escape, and nuclear uptake. Controlling the physical architecture and chemical properties of liposome structures, such as lipid-to-DNA charge, ester bond composition, size, and ligand complexation structure, is critical for targeting liposomes' success as vehicles for gene delivery. This analysis focuses on advancements in ligand-targeted liposomes and theranostic (diagnostic) liposomes for cancer diagnosis and treatment. This review will explore the numerous transgene mechanisms and molecular targets implicated in cancer cell death and the associated benefits of using liposomal formulations throughout the years. This sequence of breakthroughs will interest aspiring researchers and the pharmaceutical industry involved in liposome development.

Keywords: Gene therapy; LTLs; cancer immunotherapy; ligand; liposomes; microfluidics; targeted drug delivery; transgenes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Compounding
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Liposomes* / chemistry
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy


  • Liposomes
  • Ligands