Tumor-Associated Fibroblast-Targeting Nanoparticles for Enhancing Solid Tumor Therapy: Progress and Challenges

Wenpan Li, Nicholas Little, Jonghan Park, Cole Alexander Foster, Jiawei Chen, Jianqin Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Even though nanoparticle drug delivery systems (nanoDDSs) have improved antitumor efficacy by delivering more drugs to tumor sites compared to free and unencapsulated therapeutics, achieving satisfactory distribution and penetration of nanoDDSs inside solid tumors, especially in stromal fibrous tumors, remains challenging. As one of the most common stromal cells in solid tumors, tumor-associated fibroblasts (TAFs) not only promote tumor growth and metastasis but also reduce the drug delivery efficiency of nanoparticles through the tumor's inherent physical and physiological barriers. Thus, TAFs have been emerging as attractive targets, and TAF-targeting nanotherapeutics have been extensively explored to enhance the tumor delivery efficiency and efficacy of various anticancer agents. The purpose of this Review is to opportunely summarize the underlying mechanisms of TAFs on obstructing nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery into tumors and discuss the current advances of a plethora of nanotherapeutic approaches for effectively targeting TAFs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2889-2905
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2 2021


  • drug delivery
  • nanoparticles
  • tumor therapy
  • tumor-associated fibroblasts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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