Inorganic nanomaterials for chemo/photothermal therapy: a promising horizon on effective cancer treatment

  • Mona KhafajiEmail author
  • Masoud Zamani
  • Mortaza Golizadeh
  • Omid BaviEmail author


During the last few decades, nanotechnology has established many essential applications in the biomedical field and in particular for cancer therapy. Not only can nanodelivery systems address the shortcomings of conventional chemotherapy such as limited stability, non-specific biodistribution and targeting, poor water solubility, low therapeutic indices, and severe toxic side effects, but some of them can also provide simultaneous combination of therapies and diagnostics. Among the various therapies, the combination of chemo- and photothermal therapy (CT-PTT) has demonstrated synergistic therapeutic efficacies with minimal side effects in several preclinical studies. In this regard, inorganic nanostructures have been of special interest for CT-PTT, owing to their high thermal conversion efficiency, application in bio-imaging, versatility, and ease of synthesis and surface modification. In addition to being used as the first type of CT-PTT agents, they also include the most novel CT-PTT systems as the potentials of new inorganic nanomaterials are being more and more discovered. Considering the variety of inorganic nanostructures introduced for CT-PTT applications, enormous effort is needed to perform translational research on the most promising nanomaterials and to comprehensively evaluate the potentials of newly introduced ones in preclinical studies. This review provides an overview of most novel strategies used to employ inorganic nanostructures for cancer CT-PTT as well as cancer imaging and discusses current challenges and future perspectives in this area.


Chemo/Photothermal therapy Gold-based nanomaterials Iron- based nanomaterials Metal Sulfiedbased nanomaterials 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Mona Khafaji declares that he has no conflict of interest. Masoud Zamani declares that he has no conflict of interest. Mortaza Golizadeh declares that he has no conflict of interest. Omid Bavi declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB) and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistrySharif University of TechnologyTehranIran
  2. 2.Institute for Biotechnology and Environment (IBE)Sharif University of TechnologyTehranIran
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringShiraz University of TechnologyShirazIran

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