Theranostics 2016; 6(7):948-968. doi:10.7150/thno.15217 This issue


Recent Progress in Light-Triggered Nanotheranostics for Cancer Treatment

Pengcheng Zhang1*, Chunhua Hu1,2*, Wei Ran1,3, Jia Meng1,3, Qi Yin1, Yaping Li1✉

1. State Key Laboratory of Drug Research & Center for Pharmaceutics, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, China;
2. Nano Science and Technology Institute, University of Science and Technology of China, Suzhou 215123, China;
3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), Beijing 100049, China.
*The two authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
Zhang P, Hu C, Ran W, Meng J, Yin Q, Li Y. Recent Progress in Light-Triggered Nanotheranostics for Cancer Treatment. Theranostics 2016; 6(7):948-968. doi:10.7150/thno.15217. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Treatments of high specificity are desirable for cancer therapy. Light-triggered nanotheranostics (LTN) mediated cancer therapy could be one such treatment, as they make it possible to visualize and treat the tumor specifically in a light-controlled manner with a single injection. Because of their great potential in cancer therapy, many novel and powerful LTNs have been developed, and are mainly prepared from photosensitizers (PSs) ranging from small organic dyes such as porphyrin- and cyanine-based dyes, semiconducting polymers, to inorganic nanomaterials such as gold nanoparticles, transition metal chalcogenides, carbon nanotubes and graphene. Using LTNs and localized irradiation in combination, complete tumor ablation could be achieved in tumor-bearing animal models without causing significant toxicity. Given their great advances and promising future, we herein review LTNs that have been tested in vivo with a highlight on progress that has been made in the past a couple of years. The current challenges faced by these LTNs are also briefly discussed.

Keywords: Nanoparticle, theranostics, imaging, photodynamic, photothermal.