In recent years, nanocarriers have played increasingly significant roles in cancer therapy. Among various
nanoplatforms, mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) have been given serious attention due to their good
colloidal stablity, tunable pore sizes, extensive drug loading capacity and easily modified surface. In this review,
functionalized MSNs are introduced as an efficient nanocarrier for cancer treatment. First, MSN preparation
strategies are generally introduced. Next, passive and active tumor targeting methods for the functionalization of
MSNs are reviewed. Then, several types of stimuli-responsive strategies for on-demand drug release, a wide
variety of designs integrating with magnetic resonance imaging agents, optical imaging agents, and positron
emission tomography imaging agents, etc. for theranostic purpose are summarized. A discussion relating to the
future perspectives of MSNs for clinical translocation is also included in this review.
Keywords: Mesoporous silica nanoparticles, functionalization, tumor targeting, stimuli-responsive, drug delivery, theranostics.
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