Current therapeutic strategies used in many types of cancer are confronted with
the major problem of multidrug resistance (MDR) that can be acquired through several
mechanisms. To overcome this limitation, new therapeutic options are being explored involving
state-of-the-art technologies. In this respect, small- interfering RNA (siRNA) technology
offers the possibility to block the expression of genes that are involved in the MDR
development, improving the therapeutic index of anticancer drugs. Nanocarriers are promising
delivery systems for small molecule drugs as well as for nucleic acids aiming to target
specifically the cancer cells and to counteract MDR. Several types of organic and inorganic
nanocarriers will be discussed in this review, together with their advantages and limitations
in delivery of targeted siRNAs and cytotoxic drugs, using in vivo and in vitro experiments.
Although siRNA-anticancer drug co-delivery employing nanocarriers seems to be associated with a higher antitumor
activity than single drug or nucleic acid administration, more studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy
and the toxicity of various nanoparticle delivery systems.
Keywords: Multidrug resistance (MDR), nanocarriers, siRNA, drug delivery systems, co-delivery, liposomes, micelleplexes, inorganic
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