Theranostics 2018; 8(4):1059-1074. doi:10.7150/thno.22679 This issue


Stimuli-Responsive Nanomedicines for Overcoming Cancer Multidrug Resistance

Lei Zhou1,2, Hao Wang2, Yaping Li1✉

1. State Key Laboratory of Drug Research & Center of Pharmaceutics, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, China;
2. China State Institute of Pharmaceutical Industry, Shanghai 201203, China.

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.
Zhou L, Wang H, Li Y. Stimuli-Responsive Nanomedicines for Overcoming Cancer Multidrug Resistance. Theranostics 2018; 8(4):1059-1074. doi:10.7150/thno.22679. Available from

File import instruction


Graphic abstract

Chemotherapy is still a main option for cancer therapy, but its efficacy is often unsatisfying due to multidrug resistance (MDR). The tumor microenvironment is considered a dominant factor causing MDR. Stimuli-responsive nanomedicines exhibit many superiorities for reversal of MDR. As smart systems, stimuli-responsive nanomedicines are desirable for achieving site-specific accumulation and triggered drug release in response to slight changes in physicochemical properties in pathological conditions or to exogenous stimuli. In this review, we highlight the current progress of various nanomedicines with different stimuli-responsive capabilities for overcoming MDR. The materials, design, construction as well as efficacy in overcoming MDR of these nanomedicines are discussed. Eventually, we look forward to forthcoming intelligent nanoparticle systems with new mechanisms to deliver drugs for practical applications in conquering cancer MDR.

Keywords: multidrug resistance, cancer, tumor microenvironment, stimuli-responsive, nanomedicines, chemotherapy