Theranostics 2020; 10(3):1355-1372. doi:10.7150/thno.38147 This issue


Nanocarrier-based drug combination therapy for glioblastoma

Mengnan Zhao1*, Demian van Straten2*, Marike L.D. Broekman3, Véronique Préat1✉, Raymond M. Schiffelers2✉

1. Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Advanced Drug Delivery and Biomaterials, Avenue Mounier, 73, B1 73.12, 1200 Brussels, Belgium
2. Department of Clinical Chemistry and Haematology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, Netherlands
3. Department of Neurosurgery, Leiden University Medical Center, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC, Leiden, The Netherlands.
*Shared coauthorship

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Zhao M, van Straten D, Broekman MLD, Préat V, Schiffelers RM. Nanocarrier-based drug combination therapy for glioblastoma. Theranostics 2020; 10(3):1355-1372. doi:10.7150/thno.38147. Available from

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Graphic abstract

The current achievements in treating glioblastoma (GBM) patients are not sufficient because many challenges exist, such as tumor heterogeneity, the blood brain barrier, glioma stem cells, drug efflux pumps and DNA damage repair mechanisms. Drug combination therapies have shown increasing benefits against those challenges. With the help of nanocarriers, enhancement of the efficacy and safety could be gained using synergistic combinations of different therapeutic agents. In this review, we will discuss the major issues for GBM treatment, the rationales of drug combinations with or without nanocarriers and the principle of enhanced permeability and retention effect involved in nanomedicine-based tumor targeting and promising nanodiagnostics or -therapeutics. We will also summarize the recent progress and discuss the clinical perspectives of nanocarrier-based combination therapies. The goal of this article was to provide better understanding and key considerations to develop new nanomedicine combinations and nanotheranostics options to fight against GBM.

Keywords: glioblastoma, nanomedicine, nanoparticles, local delivery, systemic delivery, EPR effect, theranostics