Targeted thermosensitive liposomes: an attractive novel approach for increased drug delivery to solid tumors

Bilyana Dicheva, Gerben Koning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Currently available chemotherapy is hampered by a lack in tumor specificity and resulting toxicity. Small and long-circulating liposomes can preferentially deliver chemotherapeutic drugs to tumors upon extravasation from tumor vasculature. Although clinically used liposomal formulations demonstrated significant reduction in toxicity, enhancement of therapeutic activity has not fully met expectations. Areas covered: Low drug bioavailability from liposomal formulations and limited tumor accumulation remain major challenges to further improve therapeutic activity of liposomal chemotherapy. The aim of this review is to highlight strategies addressing these challenges. A first strategy uses hyperthermia and thermosensitive liposomes to improve tumor accumulation and trigger liposomal drug bioavailability. Image-guidance can aid online monitoring of heat and drug delivery and further personalize the treatment. A second strategy involves tumor-specific targeting to enhance drug delivery specificity and drug internalization. In addition, we review the potential of combinations of the two in one targeted thermosensitive-triggered drug delivery system. Expert opinion: Heat-triggered drug delivery using thermosensitive liposomes as well as the use of tumor vasculature or tumor cell-targeted liposomes are both promising strategies to improve liposomal chemotherapy. Preclinical evidence has been encouraging and both strategies are currently undergoing clinical evaluation. A combination of both strategies rendering targeted thermosensitive liposomes (TTSL) may appear as a new and attractive approach promoting tumor drug delivery.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)83-100
Number of pages18
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Delivery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Research programs

  • EMC MM-03-47-11

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