The aberrant proliferation of tumor cells and abundant vasculature in tumor tissues are closely correlated
with receptors that are specifically dysregulated in tumor cells. These tumor-associated targets are critical
in early diagnosis and therapy selection. Ligands such as antibodies, proteins, polypeptides and polysaccharides
that specifically bind to these targets can significantly improve the detection and cure rate when used as tumor
imaging probes or anti-tumor agents. Compared to other targeting ligands, peptides have attracted increasingly
more attention in tumor diagnostics and therapeutics because of their small sizes, high affinity, stability, ease of
modification and low immunogenicity. Several peptide-based imaging probes and therapeutic agents have already
been used in clinical trials. This review summarizes some of the tumor-associated targets and their corresponding
peptides, as well as the potential of these peptides in cancer treatment.
Keywords: Tumor, tumor-specific receptor, targeting peptide, diagnostic, Imaging probe, therapeutic, drug delivery.
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