The EPR effect and beyond: Strategies to improve tumor targeting and cancer nanomedicine treatment efficacy

Yang Shi, Roy van der Meel, Xiaoyuan Chen, Twan Lammers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

473 Citations (Scopus)
83 Downloads (Pure)


Following its discovery more than 30 years ago, the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect has become the guiding principle for cancer nanomedicine development. Over the years, the tumor-targeted drug delivery field has made significant progress, as evidenced by the approval of several nanomedicinal anticancer drugs. Recently, however, the existence and the extent of the EPR effect - particularly in patients - have become the focus of intense debate. This is partially due to the disbalance between the huge number of preclinical cancer nanomedicine papers and relatively small number of cancer nanomedicine drug products reaching the market. To move the field forward, we have to improve our understanding of the EPR effect, of its cancer type-specific pathophysiology, of nanomedicine interactions with the heterogeneous tumor microenvironment, of nanomedicine behavior in the body, and of translational aspects that specifically complicate nanomedicinal drug development. In this virtual special issue, 24 research articles and reviews discussing different aspects of the EPR effect and cancer nanomedicine are collected, together providing a comprehensive and complete overview of the current state-of-the-art and future directions in tumor-targeted drug delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7921-7924
Number of pages4
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Active targeting
  • Cancer immunotherapy
  • Cancer nanomedicine
  • Enhanced permeability and retention (EPR)
  • EPR effect
  • Extracellular vesicles
  • Imaging
  • Tumor targeting
  • UT-Gold-D


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