Cancer treatment still remains a challenge due to the several limitations of currently used chemotherapeutics, such as their poor pharmacokinetics, unfavorable chemical properties, as well as inability to discriminate between healthy and diseased tissue. Nanotechnology offered potent tools to overcome these limitations. Drug encapsulation within a delivery system permitted i) to protect the payload from enzymatic degradation/inactivation in the blood stream, ii) to improve the physicochemical properties of poorly water-soluble drugs, like paclitaxel, and iii) to selectively deliver chemotherapeutics to the cancer lesions, thus reducing the off-target toxicity, and promoting the intracellular internalization. To accomplish this purpose, several strategies have been developed, based on biological and physical changes happening locally and systemically as consequence of tumorigenesis. Here, we will discuss the role of inflammation in the different steps of tumor development and the strategies based on the use of nanoparticles that exploit the inflammatory pathways in order to selectively target the tumor-associated microenvironment for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes.
- Journal Article