Inorganic nanoparticles, which can absorb and convert near infrared (NIR) light to heat to
ablate cancer cells, have been widely investigated in photothermal therapy. However, the inherent
poor solubility and acute systemic toxicity of these inorganic particles hinder their application in
clinical practice. Polymeric nanocomposites materials containing both inorganic nanoparticles and
polymers could be harnessed to achieve enhanced photothermal therapeutic effect as well as improved
biocompatibility and multi-responsiveness. Synergistic chemo-photothermal efficacy towards
cancer cells and tumor tissue can thus be realized through such multi-functional and multi-responsive
polymeric nanocomposites. In this review, the recent developments in polymeric nanocomposites
based on different types of inorganic nanoparticles (i.e. gold, carbon nanotube, graphene, and upconversion
nanoparticles) for NIR-triggered cancer therapy are summarized.
Keywords: Near infrared, Photothermal therapy, Chemotherapy, Polymeric nanocomposites.
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