Targeted drug therapy in non-small cell lung cancer: Clinical significance and possible solutions-part II (role of nanocarriers)

Lung Cancer

Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2020 Oct 5. doi: 10.1080/17425247.2021.1832989. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Non -small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for 80-85% of the cases of lung cancer. NSCLC is further classified into its subtypes; adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma depending on histological features and location in the lung tissue. The conventional therapeutic effective dosage forms used to treat NSCLC are associated with rigid administration schedules, adverse effects and may be associated with acquired resistance to therapy. Nanocarriers may

provide a suitable alternative to regular formulations to overcome inherent drawbacks and provide better treatment modalities for the patient.

AREAS COVERED: The article explores the application of drug loaded nanocarriers for lung cancer treatment. Drug loaded nanocarriers can be modified to achieve controlled delivery at the desired tumor infested site. Their propensity to be stable and protect their payload from degrading enzymes in the tumor microenvironment and the cellular lysosomal compartment may enable administration of a reduced dose to acquire the desired bioavailability and efficacy. The type of nanocarriers employed are diverse based on polymers, liposomes, metals and a combination of two or more different base materials (hybrids). These may be designed for systemic delivery or local delivery to the lung compartment (via inhalation).

EXPERT OPINION: Nanocarriers can improve pharmacokinetics of the drug payload by improving its delivery to the desired location and can reduce associated systemic toxicities. Through nanocarriers, a wide variety of therapeutics can be administered and targeted to the cancerous site. Some examples of the utilities of nanocarriers are co-delivery of drugs, gene delivery and delivery of other biologics. Nanotechnology based formulations can be exploited for passive drug delivery by a phenomenon termed as the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect which is manifested on account of impaired lymphatic drainage of tumor tissue and its leaky vasculature. Overall, the nanocarriers have promising potential in improving therapeutic efficacy of drugs used in NSCLC.