Cancer Therapy with Nanotechnology-Based Drug Delivery Systems: Applications and Challenges of Liposome Technologies for Advanced Cancer Therapy

  • Ryo Suzuki
  • Daiki Omata
  • Yusuke Oda
  • Johan Unga
  • Yoichi Negishi
  • Kazuo MaruyamaEmail author
Part of the Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology book series (MIPT)


Nanotechnologies have the potential to improve cancer therapy. In particular, liposomes and micelles serve as nano-sized drug delivery carriers for the administration of cancer drugs. Although micelles have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in USA, some liposomal drugs have been already approved for use in anticancer therapy. In most cases, these liposomal drugs have improved pharmacokinetics and reduced side effects due to the encapsulation of the drug. Also, passive targeting to the tumor can be achieved due to physiological properties that lead to the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect in tumor tissue. More recently, modification of the liposomal surface with active targeting molecules such as antibodies or natural receptor ligands has been investigated in clinical trials. Moreover, novel strategies for drug release, activation, and delivery with physical stimuli have been developed. There is a plethora of preclinical and clinical data about liposomal drugs for cancer therapy because they have been utilized as commercially available drugs for a long time. In the present review, we summarize the use of tumor-targeting technologies and approved liposomal antitumor drugs, describe their properties, and assess applications and challenges of liposome technologies for advanced cancer therapy.

Key words

Liposome Cancer therapy Nanomedicine Enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect Targeting Drug delivery system Theranostics 



We are grateful to Dr. Alexander Klibanov (Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Virginia, USA) for his technical advice on liposome technologies. The authors would like to thank Ms. Lindsey Brinton (Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia) for the English language review. This study was supported by JSPS KAKENHI (Grant Number 21700511, 23300192, 24650299, and 23500567), the MEXT-Supported Program for the Strategic Research Foundation at Private Universities 2013–2017, the Programs for Promotion of Fundamental Studies in Health Sciences of the National Institute of Biomedical Innovation (NIBIO), and the Third Term Comprehensive Control Research for Cancer from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryo Suzuki
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daiki Omata
    • 1
  • Yusuke Oda
    • 1
  • Johan Unga
    • 1
  • Yoichi Negishi
    • 3
  • Kazuo Maruyama
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Drug and Gene Delivery System Research, Faculty of Pharma-SciencesTeikyo UniversityItabashi-kuJapan
  2. 2.Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research CenterUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Drug Delivery and Molecular Biopharmaceutics, School of PharmacyTokyo University of Pharmacy and Life SciencesTokyoJapan

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