Background: Nanomedicine, which is defined as application of nanoparticles in medicine, has offered
new hopes for overcoming the drawbacks appeared in traditional chemotherapy. The size of nanomedicine normally
in the range from 1 to 200 nm endows its potential applications in cancer therapy. But in clinics, there is still a gap
between the in vitro physicochemical properties and the cellular level performance.
Method: The physicochemical properties include size, shape, surface chemistry, surface topology, and surface properties
strongly affect nanomedicine inter-/intra-cellular efficiency. Herein, this article reviews effects of physicochemical
properties of nanomedicine on the cellular endocytosis and intracellular route. And strategies of nanomedicine
optimization are also discussed from different perspectives.
Results: On the one hand, not as that of the traditional small molecular agents, the cellular endocytosis pathway and
efficiency of nanomedicine is related to its size, structure and surface properties. On the other hand, the intracellular
conditions also affect the intracellular route of nanomedicine.
Conclusion: Nanomedicine of different scale size is internalized through different pathways. While different sensitivities
to intracellular conditions determined by physicochemical properties of nanomedicine will lead to different
cellular consumption. So, both the properties of nanomedicine and the intracellular conditions play important roles in
cellular metabolism. Consequently, nanocarriers finely engineered as the above principles can provide practical solution
to the problems appeared in cellular level for promoting traditional cancer therapy.