Theranostics 2019; 9(26):8026-8047. doi:10.7150/thno.38261 This issue


Advances in nanomedicine for cancer starvation therapy

Shuangjiang Yu1,3✉, Zhaowei Chen2, Xuan Zeng2, Xuesi Chen3✉, Zhen Gu2✉

1. College of Material, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou 311121, P. R. China.
2. Department of Bioengineering, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI), and Center for Minimally Invasive Therapeutics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
3. Key Laboratory of Polymer Ecomaterials, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130022, China. E-mail:

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Yu S, Chen Z, Zeng X, Chen X, Gu Z. Advances in nanomedicine for cancer starvation therapy. Theranostics 2019; 9(26):8026-8047. doi:10.7150/thno.38261. Available from

File import instruction


Graphic abstract

Abnormal cell metabolism with vigorous nutrition consumption is one of the major physiological characteristics of cancers. As such, the strategy of cancer starvation therapy through blocking the blood supply, depleting glucose/oxygen and other critical nutrients of tumors has been widely studied to be an attractive way for cancer treatment. However, several undesirable properties of these agents, such as low targeting efficacy, undesired systemic side effects, elevated tumor hypoxia, induced drug resistance, and increased tumor metastasis risk, limit their future applications. The recent development of starving-nanotherapeutics combined with other therapeutic methods displayed the promising potential for overcoming the above drawbacks. This review highlights the recent advances of nanotherapeutic-based cancer starvation therapy and discusses the challenges and future prospects of these anticancer strategies.

Keywords: drug delivery, nanomedicine, cancer starvation therapy, combination treatment