Recent advances in chitosan-based systems for delivery of anticancer drugs
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Problems in transporting drug molecules to tumor sites in required dose or constitution lead to low efficacy and significant side effects. Shielding the drug molecules in micelles, liposomes, or nanoparticles is a major line of investigation to improve chemotherapeutic treatment. Though compatibility for proper envelopment of the drug and timely release at the tumor site are required of such a carrier, protecting its own physicochemical and morphological integrity during transport is another precondition. Because of its superior polymerization capability, biocompatibility, pH dependence, and charging characteristics, chitosan has been in the forefront of potential drug carriers. Numerous synthesis routes for chitosan-based nanocarriers have been suggested to the extent that a search of the literature published since 2000 with the keywords “novel + nano + chitosan” in the title results in 527 articles, indicating the bewildering quality and quantity of the new information. This review was carried out not only to peruse this large amount of work on chitosan-based anticancer drug delivery but also to extract manageable patterns from numerous synthesis routes. The main conclusion is that the synthesis methods suggested in literature can be combined into two main routes, and the degree of hydrophobicity of the drug determines which route should be followed. © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019.