Targeting integrins in cancer nanomedicine: Applications in cancer diagnosis and therapy

Ping Hsiu Wu, Abayomi Emmanuel Opadele, Yasuhito Onodera, Jin Min Nam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Due to advancements in nanotechnology, the application of nanosized materials (nanomaterials) in cancer diagnostics and therapeutics has become a leading area in cancer research. The decoration of nanomaterial surfaces with biological ligands is a major strategy for directing the actions of nanomaterials specifically to cancer cells. These ligands can bind to specific receptors on the cell surface and enable nanomaterials to actively target cancer cells. Integrins are one of the cell surface receptors that regulate the communication between cells and their microenvironment. Several integrins are overexpressed in many types of cancer cells and the tumor microvasculature and function in the mediation of various cellular events. Therefore, the surface modification of nanomaterials with integrin-specific ligands not only increases their binding affinity to cancer cells but also enhances the cellular uptake of nanomaterials through the intracellular trafficking of integrins. Moreover, the integrin-specific ligands themselves interfere with cancer migration and invasion by interacting with integrins, and this finding provides a novel direction for new treatment approaches in cancer nanomedicine. This article reviews the integrin-specific ligands that have been used in cancer nanomedicine and provides an overview of the recent progress in cancer diagnostics and therapeutic strategies involving the use of integrin-targeted nanomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1783
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Active targeting
  • Cancer diagnosis
  • Drug delivery
  • Hyperthermia therapy
  • Integrin
  • Nanomedicine
  • Nanoparticles
  • Radiotherapy
  • RGD peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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