Inhalation of nanoparticles-based drug for lung cancer treatment: advantages and challenges.

Ever since the success of developing inhalable insulin, drug delivery via pulmonary administration has become an attractive route to treat chronic diseases. Pulmonary delivery system for nanotechnology is a relatively new concept especially when applicable to lung cancer therapy. Nano-based systems such as liposome, polymeric nanoparticles or micelles are strategically designed to enhance the therapeutic index of anti-cancer drugs through improvement of their bioavailability, stability and residency at targeted lung regions. Along with these benefits, nano-based systems also provide additional diagnostic advantages during lung cancer treatment, including imaging, screening and drug tracking. Nevertheless, delivery of nano-based drugs via pulmonary administration for lung cancer therapy is still in its infancy and numerous challenges are expected. Pharmacology, immunology, toxicology and large-scale manufacturing (stability and activity of drugs) are some aspects in nanotechnology that should be taken into consideration for the development of inhalable nano-based chemotherapeutic drugs. This review will focus on the current inhalable nano-based drugs for lung cancer treatment.