The liposomes present great potential for applications in targeted delivery of chemotherapeutics in the treatment of cancer. The use of liposomal drug carriers as vehicles for targeting of chemotherapeutic agents to tumor tissues is based on their advantages over other dosage forms, represented by their low systemic toxicity, their bioavailability, and their possibility to enhance the solubility of different chemotherapeutic agents, due to the ability to encapsulate both hydrophilic and lipophilic drugs. They enhance the therapeutic index of anticancer drugs by increasing the drug concentration in tumor cells through tumor targeting. The available approaches used for tumor targeting using liposomes are passive targeting, active targeting, and triggered drug release. The most advanced targeting strategies proposed for cancer treatment are the development of multifunctional liposomes, having combined targeting mechanism. In this chapter, the tumor-targeting mechanisms are described in detail as well as the possibilities to design the targeted liposomal nanocarrier in order to reach the desired target in the body and minimizing the off-target effects. Moreover, the current status of preclinical and clinical evaluation is highlighted.
Part of the book: Liposomes