Lymph node metastases: importance of detection and treatment strategies

Antonella Obinu, Elisabetta Gavini, Giovanna Rassu, Marcello Maestri, Maria Cristina Bonferoni, Paolo Giunchedi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Lymphatic vessels are the preferential route of most solid tumors to spread their metastases in the body. The onset of metastatic nests in draining lymph nodes (LNs) are a significant indicator of cancer progression and a dismaying sign of worsen staging. Therefore, the individuation and elimination of cancer cells within the lymphatic system (LS) are an important goal. Nevertheless, the targeting of the LS with traditional contrast agents and/or chemotherapeutics is difficult, due to its anatomical structure. For this reason, many studies on new lymphatic delivery systems have been carried out, both to improve lymphatic imaging and to selectively carry chemotherapeutics to LNs, reducing the exposure of healthy tissues to the cytotoxic substances. This is an overview of the present situation in the field of detection and treatment strategies of lymphatic metastases, taking into account the use of nano-drug delivery systems. Nanocarriers, thanks to their small size and other physicochemical characteristics, are suitable vectors for imaging and chemotherapy of the LS. Areas covered: The role of the LS in tumor progression and importance of treatment and imaging strategies of lymphatic metastases. Expert opinion: The nanoparticles are a promising approach for treatment and detection of lymphatic metastases. However further studies are necessary in order to evaluate their efficacy in human clinical application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-467
Number of pages9
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Delivery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 4 2018


  • Cancer
  • drug delivery systems
  • lymph node metastases
  • lymphatic system
  • nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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