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Table 3 Nanoparticulate strategies used and outcome for targeting skin cancer

From: Skin cancer therapeutics: nano-drug delivery vectors—present and beyond




Strategy for drug delivery



Spiropyran nanoparticles


Tumor penetration

Size modification

Nanoparticles perceptively contract to 49 nm from around 100 nm upon ultraviolet (UV) exposure

[124, 125]

Micelle loaded nanocapsules


Tumor penetration

Size modification

Pea like nanocapsule for the transport of drug loaded micelles can be targeted to tumor cells, activated by near infrared (808 nm) radiation


NO generating liposome


Controlled drug release

Size modification

Doxorubicin-loaded Polyamidoamine dendrimers and NO donating nitrosoglutathione liposomes incorporated in single large nanocarrier and targeted to tumors. Providing ultrasound therapy, large nanocarrier was ruptured to release dendrimers and liposomes


Magnetic Nanoparticles


Controlled drug release

Size modification

Drug loaded magnetic nanoparticle of 150 nm size form cluster by assembling or dissembling under the exposure of dynamic magnetic field

[128, 129]

Dendrimeric Nanobomb


Enhance tumor penetration and therapeutic efficacy

Modulation of tumor microenvironment

Weakly acidic microenvironment of tumor triggers the change in size (at neutral pH 80 nm and at tumor site less than 10 nm) of the drug loaded dendrimer particles accumulate at the tumor


Mesoporous silica Nanoparticles


Cellular toxicity

Laser Irradiation

120 s and 180 s infrared irradiation showed 50–70% reduction in cell proliferation


Solid Lipid Nanoparticles

Aluminum chloride phthalocyanine

Cellular toxicity

Laser Irradiation

Doubling the laser light radiation at 1.0 J/cm-2 showed higher phototoxicity of NPs. Cellular viability remains the same after exposure to free photosensitizer



Ferrous chlorophyllin

Tumor targeting

Laser Irradiation

50% mice showed complete disappearance of tumor within 2 months and almost all animals showed significant reduction in tumor volume over the period of 7 days after in vivo treatment with photodynamic therapy


PEGylated Gold NPs



Laser Irradiation

At a radiant exposure of 1.3 J/cm2 and drug concentration of 6 μM, the maximum photodynamic therapy efficacy was observed from the nanoparticles


Polymeric Nanoparticles

Chlorine 6 and Docetaxel

Cellular apoptosis


NP treatment was given with ultrasound exposure showed higher rate of apoptosis and cellular necrosis. After sonodynamic therapy increased levels of ROS were observed which are responsible for cellular necrosis by mitochondrial damage


Nanocapsule nanoconjugate and Microbubble”

Curcumin and topotecan

Growth rate of Tumor and toxicity


Ultrasound leads to mild hyperthermia which leads to reduction in tumor growth rate by non-coagulative necrosis mechanism. 93% animals treated with ultrasound survived, where in case of untreated animals the survival rate was 26%


PEGylated gold nanorod and micelles


Cellular necrosis


Microneedle and photothermal therapy was combined which showed better efficacy as compared to non-combined treatments


Mesoporous silica nanoparticles

Phthalocyanine with dabrafenib and trametinib

Tissue penetration and controlled drug release


For initial 10 min there was no marked dissimilarity in the amount of nanoparticles in microneedle treated and untreated skin. However, skin penetration rate of NP increased in microneedle treated group to 63% in comparison with 27.2% for treatment without microneedle


pH-responsive lipid nanoparticles




Xenograft tumor model exhibited reduced tumor weight and volume after treatments with microneedle and NP. Apoptosis and tumor cell cytotoxicity were also significantly increased




Tumor tissue specification and improved circulation time with tumor accumulation

Ligand Functionalization

Better tumor targeting was achieved as compared to the non-functionalized micelles


Ultradeformable liposomes


Hyaluronic acid

Ligand Functionalization

Liposomes were functionalized to target specific binding sites on receptors present on tumor surface




R8H3 as CPP


Better penetration of chemotherapeutic agents in the skin was achieved. Increased efficiency to penetrate tumor stroma and transport though tumor cell was achieved with hydrogel of transferosomes