Traditional therapy for cancer is subject to some evident obstacles, including low
effectiveness, resistance, systemic complication, etc. Gold nanostructures responsive to near-infrared
(NIR) light are attractive for non-invasive and targeted therapy because of their unique physical
properties especially strong absorption and scattering, and high surface area-to-volume ratio as well as the ease of which
their surface chemistry can be manipulated to enhance biocompatibility surface modification and functionalization. In this
Review, the progress of photothermal therapy (PTT) as well as the targeted delivery of anticancer agents as the
predominant applications of gold nanostructures is detailed, with a focus on imaging-guided therapy and optimizing
operational parameters. The NIR light-controlled targeted delivery and/or photothermal ablation of gold nanostructures in
the treatment of metastasis are also briefly discussed. These gold nanostructures pave the way for developing better
therapeutic strategies of cancer.
Keywords: Cancer therapy, drug delivery system, gold nanostructures, imaging-guided therapy, metastasis, Near-infrared
(NIR) light, photothermal therapy (PTT).
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