An update on dual targeting strategy for cancer treatment

Yasamin Davatgaran Taghipour, Amir Zarebkohan, Roya Salehi, Fariborz Rahimi, Vladimir P. Torchilin, Michael R. Hamblin, Alexander Seifalian

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The key issue in the treatment of solid tumors is the lack of efficient strategies for the targeted delivery and accumulation of therapeutic cargoes in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Targeting approaches are designed for more efficient delivery of therapeutic agents to cancer cells while minimizing drug toxicity to normal cells and off-targeting effects, while maximizing the eradication of cancer cells. The highly complicated interrelationship between the physicochemical properties of nanoparticles, and the physiological and pathological barriers that are required to cross, dictates the need for the success of targeting strategies. Dual targeting is an approach that uses both purely biological strategies and physicochemical responsive smart delivery strategies to increase the accumulation of nanoparticles within the TME and improve targeting efficiency towards cancer cells. In both approaches, either one single ligand is used for targeting a single receptor on different cells, or two different ligands for targeting two different receptors on the same or different cells. Smart delivery strategies are able to respond to triggers that are typical of specific disease sites, such as pH, certain specific enzymes, or redox conditions. These strategies are expected to lead to more precise targeting and better accumulation of nano-therapeutics. This review describes the classification and principles of dual targeting approaches and critically reviews the efficiency of dual targeting strategies, and the rationale behind the choice of ligands. We focus on new approaches for smart drug delivery in which synthetic and/or biological moieties are attached to nanoparticles by TME-specific responsive linkers and advanced camouflaged nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-96
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Aptamer
  • Cancer
  • Drug delivery
  • Dual targeting
  • Ligands
  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanoparticle
  • Peptide
  • Receptor
  • Responsive linker
  • Stealth
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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