Cancer targeting peptides

Mona Kalmouni, Sumaya Al-Hosani, Mazin Magzoub

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Despite continuing advances in the development of biomacromolecules for therapeutic purposes, successful application of these often large and hydrophilic molecules has been hindered by their inability to efficiently traverse the cellular plasma membrane. In recent years, cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) have received considerable attention as a promising class of delivery vectors due to their ability to mediate the efficient import of a large number of cargoes in vitro and in vivo. However, the lack of target specificity of CPPs remains a major obstacle to their clinical development. To address this issue, researchers have developed strategies in which chemotherapeutic drugs are conjugated to cancer targeting peptides (CTPs) that exploit the unique characteristics of the tumor microenvironment or cancer cells, thereby improving cancer cell specificity. This review highlights several of these strategies that are currently in use, and discusses how multi-component nanoparticles conjugated to CTPs can be designed to provide a more efficient cancer therapeutic delivery strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Hypoxia
  • Low pH
  • Metabolism
  • Nanoplatforms
  • Proteases
  • Targeted therapy
  • Tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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