Classic chemotherapy has little or no specificity for cancer cells, normally resulting in low accumulation at the tumor region (inefficacy), and in severe side effects (toxicity). This challenge has resulted in the development of several delivery strategies for chemotherapy agents to improve their concentration at the tumor site, simultaneously increasing their anticancer efficacy, while reducing the associated adverse systemic effects. In this work, the potential of drug delivery strategies involving the use of nanocarriers for controlling the biodistribution of antitumor drugs is deeply revised: passive targeting (through the enhanced permeability and retention effect, EPR effect) and active targeting (including stimuli-sensitive carriers and ligand-mediated delivery). Special attention will be also focussed on the recent approaches for overcoming multi-drug resistance. Finally, a general view of the problem of “nanotoxicity” in cancer treatment is also given.
Keywords: Active targeting, antitumor activity, cancer treatment, chemotherapy agent, colloidal drug delivery systems, controlled release, drug carrier, nanotoxicity, passive targeting, 5-fluorouracil, multi-drug resistance, reticuloendothelial system, mononuclear phagocyte system, opsonins, Doxorubicin, DOX-SLNs, caprolactone, tamoxifen, PLA-PEG, asialoglycoprotein, HepG2, monoclonal antibodies, Pseudomonas, PE38KDEL, Flow cytometry, confocal microscopy, Peptide-Mediated Targeting, Inulin multi-methacrylate (IMMA), CREKA, fibronectin, DAOY, vasoactive intestinal peptide, Integrin-Mediated Targeting, H2009, Aptamer-Mediated Targeting, PSMA, LNCaP xenograft, Folate Receptor Targeting, HeLa, paclitaxel prodrug, Cremophor, prodrug therapy, TRAIL immunotherapy, Transferrin Receptor Targeting, fluorescence microscopic, EGFR, acute myeloid leukemia, hyperthermia, Thermo-sensitive magnetoliposomes, methotrexate, Magnetic Drug Targeting, Ultrasound-Mediated Drug Delivery, Low frequency ultrasound, metalloproteinase-2, PEGylation, paclitaxel, tariquidar, Myocet, Doxil, Caelyx, Genexol-PM
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