It is a fact that chemotherapy agents have little specificity for cancer cells, this leading to low concentrations into the tumor interstititum and severe side effects on healthy tissues. The formulation of lipid-based nanomedicines against cancer has been hypothesized to improve drug localization into the tumor tissue and to increase the anticancer efficacy of concentional drugs, while minimizing their systemic adverse effects. In this review, special attention is devoted to the analysis of the state-of-the-art in the development of lipid-based drug carriers against cancer. Specifically, the most significant in vitro and in vivo results on the use of niosomes, liposomes, and solid lipid nanoparticles are revised. It is concluded that biodistribution profiles of chemotherapy agents can be controlled by their loading to such nanoplatforms. Lipid-based nanomedicines offer an interesting approach to the delivery of anticancer drugs to brain tumors, and to reverse multi-drug resistance of cancer cells. Finally, a deep evaluation of the applicability of drug delivery strategies in the formulation of lipid-based nanoplatforms is carried out. They involve active drug targeting (including ligand-mediated delivery, and stimuli-sensitive carriers), and passive drug targeting (through the enhanced permeability and retention effect) to tumors.
Keywords: Cancer, enhanced permeability and retention effect, ligand-mediated targeting, liposomes, multi-drug resistance (MDR), niosomes, solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN), stimuli-sensitive carrier, nanomedicines
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