Background: Target-homing drug delivery systems are now gaining significant traction for use as novel therapeutic approaches in antitumor targeting for cancer therapy. Numerous targeted drug delivery systems have been designed to improve the targeting effects because these systems can display a range of favorable properties. Thus, providing suitable characteristics for clinical applicability of anticancer drugs, such as increasing the solubility, and improving the drug distribution at target sites. The majority of these targeting systems are designed with respect to differences between cancerous and normal tissues, for instance, the low pH of tumor tissues or overexpressed receptors on tumor cell membranes. Because of the growing number of targeting possibilities, it is important to know the tumor-specific recognition strategies for designing novel, targeted, drug delivery systems. Herein, we will identify and summarize literature pertaining to various recognition sites for optimizing the design of targeted drug delivery systems to augment current chemotherapeutic approaches.
Objective: This review focuses on identification of the recognition sites for developing targeted drug delivery systems for use in cancer therapeutics.
Method: We have reviewed and compiled cancer-specific recognition sites and their abnormal characteristics within tumor tissues (low pH, high glutathione, targetable receptors, etc.), tumor cells (receptor overexpression or tumor cell membrane changes) and tumor cell organelles (nuclear and endoplasmic reticular dysregulation) utilizing existing scientific literature. Moreover, we have highlighted the design of some targeted drug delivery systems that can be used as homing tools for these recognition sites.
Results and Conclusion: Targeted drug delivery systems are a promising therapeutic approach for tumor chemotherapy. Additional research focused on finding novel recognition sites, and subsequent development of targeting moieties for use with drug delivery systems will aid in the evaluation and clinical application of new and improved chemotherapeutics.