Chemotherapy is a cornerstone of cancer therapy. Irrespective of the administered drug, it is crucial that adequate drug amounts reach all cancer cells. To achieve this, drugs first need to be absorbed, then enter the blood circulation, diffuse into the tumor interstitial space and finally reach the tumor cells. Next to chemoresistance, one of the most important factors for effective chemotherapy is adequate tumor drug uptake and penetration. Unfortunately, most chemotherapeutic agents do not have favorable properties. These compounds are cleared rapidly, distribute throughout all tissues in the body, with only low tumor drug uptake that is heterogeneously distributed within the tumor. Moreover, the typical microenvironment of solid cancers provides additional hurdles for drug delivery, such as heterogeneous vascular density and perfusion, high interstitial fluid pressure, and abundant stroma. The hope was that nanotechnology will solve most, if not all, of these drug delivery barriers. However, in spite of advances and decades of nanoparticle development, results are unsatisfactory. One promising recent development are nanoparticles which can be steered, and release content triggered by internal or external signals. Here we discuss these so-called smart drug delivery systems in cancer therapy with emphasis on mild hyperthermia as a trigger signal for drug delivery.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.