Background: Cancer is the world’s second-largest cause of death, with an estimated 9.6 million fatalities
in 2018. Malignant tumour (cancer) is caused by a mixture of genetic modifications due to the environmental
variables that tend to activate or inactivate different genes, ultimately resulting in neoplastic transformations.
Cancer is a multi-stage process that results from the conversion of the ordinary cells to tumour cells and progresses
from a pre-cancer lesion to abnormal growth.
Methods: Chemotherapy inhibits the ability of the cells to divide rapidly in an abnormal manner, but this treatment
simultaneously affects the entire cellular network in the human body leading to cytotoxic effects. In this
review article, the same issue has been addressed by discussing various aspects of the newer class of drugs in
cancer therapeutics, i.e., Gold Nanoparticles (AuNPs) from metal nanoparticle (NP) class.
Results: Metal NPs are advantageous over conventional chemotherapy as the adverse drug reactions are lesser.
Additionally, ease of drug delivery, targeting and gene silencing are salient features of this treatment. Functionalized
ligand-targeting metal NPs provide better energy deposition control in tumour. AuNPs are promising agents
in the field of cancer treatment and are comprehensively studied as contrast agents, carriers of medicinal products,
radiosensitizers and photothermal agents. For the targeted delivery of chemotherapeutic agents, AuNPs are used
and also tend to enhance tumour imaging in vivo for a variety of cancer types and diseased organs.
Conclusion: The first part of the review focuses on various nano-carriers that are used for cancer therapy and
deals with the progression of metal NPs in cancer therapy. The second part emphasizes the use of nanotechnology
by considering the latest studies for diagnostic and therapeutic properties of AuNPs. AuNPs present the latest
studies in the field of nanotechnology, which leads to the development of early-stage clinical trials. The next part
of the review discusses the major features of five principal types of AuNPs: gold nanorods, gold nanoshells, gold
nanospheres, gold nanocages, and gold nanostars that have their application in photothermal therapy (PTT).