Nanoparticles and CNS Delivery of Therapeutic Agents in the Treatment of Primary Brain Tumors


  • Gerardo Caruso Neurosurgical Clinic, Department of Neuroscience, University of Messina School of Medicine, Messina, Italy
  • Daniele Marino Neurosurgical Clinic, Department of Neuroscience, University of Messina School of Medicine, Messina, Italy
  • Maria Caffo Neurosurgical Clinic, Department of Neuroscience, University of Messina School of Medicine, Messina, Italy



Blood-Brain Barrier,Brain Tumors, Glioma, Glioblastoma Multiforme, Nanoparticles.


 Patients affected by malignant brain tumor present an extremely poor prognosis, notwithstanding improvements in surgery techniques and therapeutic protocols. Late diagnosis and the limitation of conventional therapies are major reasons for this unsolved clinical problem. The blood-brain barrier formed by a complex of endothelial cells, astrocyte and pericytes reduces notably the diffusion of a large number of therapeutic agents.

Nanotechnology involves the design, synthesis, and characterization of materials and devices that have a functional organization in at least one dimension on the nanometer scale. The nanoparticles have emerged as potential vectorsfor brain delivery able to overcome the difficulties of modern strategies. Nanoparticles drug delivery systems can be, also, used to provide targeted delivery of drugs, improve bioavailability, sustains release of drugs for systemic delivery.Moreover, multi-functionality can be engineered into a single nanoplatform so that it can provide tumor-specific detection, treatment, and follow-up monitoring.

In this study we will focus on the blood-brain barrier role and possibilities of its therapeutic overcoming. Recent studies of some kinds of nanoparticles systems in brain tumors treatment are summarized.


Kohler BA, Ward E, McCarthy BJ, Schymura MJ, Ries LA, et al. Annual report to the nation on the status of cancer, 1975-2007, featuring tumors of the brain and other nervous system. J Natl Cancer Inst 2011; 103: 714-36.

Caffo M, Barresi V, Caruso G, Cutugno M, La Fata G, Venza M, et al. Innovative therapeutic strategies in the treatment of brain metastases. Int J Mol Sci 2013; 14: 2135-74.

Louis DN, Ohgaki H, Wiestler OD, Cavenee WK, Burger PC, Jouvet A, et al. The 2007 WHO classification of tumours of the central nervous system. Acta Neuropathol 2007; 114: 97-109.

Caruso G, Caffo M, La Fata G, Passalacqua M, Merlo L, Tomasello F. Nanomedicine in brain tumors. In: Tiwari A, Tiwari A, editors. Bioengineered nanomaterials. 1st ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press 2013; p. 295-326.

Caruso G, Caffo M, Raudino G, Alafaci C, Salpietro FM, Tomasello F. Antisense oligonucleotides as an innovative therapeutic strategy in the treatment of high-grade gliomas. Recent Pat CNS Drug Discov 2010; 5: 53-69.

Lima FR, Kahn SA, Soletti RC, Biasoli D, Alves T, da Fonseca AC, et al. Glioblastoma: therapeutic challenges, what lies ahead. Biochim Biophys Acta 2012; 1826: 338-49.

Stupp R, Hegi ME, van den Bent MJ, Mason WP, Weller M, Mirimanoff RO, et al. Changing paradigms-an update on the multidisciplinary management of malignant glioma. Oncologist 2006; 11: 165-80.

Caffo M, Raudino G, Caruso G. Nanotechnology and brain tumors drug delivery. Recent Patents Nanomed 2013; 3: 26-36.

Ruben JD, Dally M, Bailey M, Smith R, Mclean CA, Fedele P. Cerebral radiation necrosis: incidence, outcomes, and risk factors with emphasis on radiation parameters and chemotherapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2006; 65: 499-508.

Caruso G, Caffo M, Alafaci C, Raudino G, Cafarella D, Lucerna S, et al. Could nanoparticles systems have a role in the treatment of cerebral gliomas? Nanomedicine 2011; 7: 744-52.

Meyers JD, Doane T, Burda C, Basilion JP. Nanoparticles for imaging and treating brain cancer. Nanomedicine 2013; 8: 123-43.

Caruso G, Caffo M, Raudino G, Tomasello F. Nanoparticles and brain tumor treatment. 1st ed. New York: ASME Press; 2012.

Brigger I, Dubernet C, Couvreur P. Nanoparticles in cancer therapy and diagnosis. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2002; 54: 631-51.

Gabathuler R. Approaches to transport therapeutic drugs across the blood-brain barrier to treat brain diseases. Neurobiol Dis 2010; 37: 48-57.

Orringer D, Koo Y, Chen T, Kopelman R, Sagher O, Philbert M. Small solutions for big problems: the application of nanoparticles to brain tumor diagnosis and therapy. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2009; 85: 531-4.

Pardridge WM. Blood-brain barrier delivery. Drug Discov Today 2007; 12: 54-61.

Ali J, Ali M, Baboota S, Sahani JK, Ramassamy C, Bhavna DL. Potential of nanoparticulate drug delivery systems by intranasal administration. Curr Pharm Des 2010; 16: 1644-53.

Gelperina S, Maksimenko O, Khalansky A, Vanchugova L, Shipulo E, Abbasova K, et al. Drug delivery to the brain using surfactant-coated poly(lactide-co-glycolide) nanoparticles: influence of the formulation parameters. Eur J Pharm Biopharm 2010; 74: 157-63.

Boado RJ, Zhang Y, Zhang Y, Pardridge WM. Humanization of anti-human insulin receptor antibody for drug targeting across the human blood-brain barrier. Biotechnol Bioeng 2007; 96: 381-91.

Pardridge WM, Kang YS, Buciak JL, Yang J. Human insulin receptor monoclonal antibody undergoes high affinity binding to human brain capillaries in vitro and rapid transcytosis through the blood-brain barrier in vivo in the primate. Pharm Res 1995; 12: 807-16.

Vogelbaum MA. Convection enhanced delivery for the treatment of malignant gliomas: symposium review. J Neurooncol 2005; 73: 57-69.

Raghavan R, Brady ML, Rodriguez-Ponce MI, Hartlep A, Pedain C, Sampson JH. Convection-enhanced delivery of therapeutics for brain disease, and its optimization. Neurosurg Focus 2006; 20: E12.

Prabha S, Labhasetwar V. Critical determinants in PLGA/PLA nanoparticle mediated gene expression. Pharm Res 2004; 21: 354-64.

Lockman PR, Mumper RJ, Khan MA, Allen DD. Nanoparticle technology for drug delivery across the blood-brain barrier. Drug Dev Ind Pharm 2002; 28: 1-13.

Misra A, Ganesh S, Shahiwala A, Shah SP. Drug delivery to the central nervous system: A review. J Pharm Pharm Sci 2003; 6: 252-73.

Dritschilo A, Huang CH, Rudin CM, Marshall J, Collins B, Dul JL, et al. Phase I study of liposome-encapsulated c-raf antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotide infusion in combination with radiation therapy in patients with advanced malignancies. Clin Cancer Res 2006; 12: 1251-9.

Xin H, Jiang X, Gu J, Sha X, Chen L, Law K, et al. Angiopep-conjugated poly(ethylene glycol)-co-poly(e-caprolactone) nanoparticles as dual-targeting drug delivery system for brain glioma. Biomaterials 2011; 32: 4293-305.

da Silveira EF, Chassot JM, Teixeira FC, Azambuja JH, Debom G, Beira FT, et al. Ketoprofen-loaded polymeric nanocapsules selectively inhibit cancer cell growth in vitro and in preclinical model of glioblastoma multiforme. Invest New Drugs 2013; 31: 1424-35.

Bernal GM, La Riviere MJ, Mansour N, Pytel P, Cahill KE, Voce DJ, et al. Convection-enhanced delivery and in vivo imaging of polymeric nanoparticles for the treatment of malignant glioma. Nanomedicine 2014; 10: 149-57.

Lu W, Sun Q, Wan J, She Z, Jiang X. Cationic albumin-conjugated pegylated Nanoparticles allow gene delivery into brain tumors via intravenous administration. Cancer Res 2006; 66: 11878-86.

Adams ML, Lavasanifar A, Kwon GS. Amphiphilic block copolymers for drug delivery. J Pharm Sci 2003; 92: 1343-55.

Kataoka K, Harada A, Nagasaki Y. Block copolymer micelles for drug delivery: design, characterization and biological significance. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2001; 47: 113-31.

Morshed RA, Cheng Y, Auffinger B, Wegscheid ML, Lesniak MS. The potential of polymeric micelles in the context of glioblastoma therapy. Front Pharmacol 2013; 4: 1-14.

Dabholkar RD, Sawant RM, Mongayt DA. Polyethylene glycol-phosphatidylethanolamine conjugate (PEG-PE)-based mixed micelles: some properties, loading with paclitaxel, and modulation of P-glycoprotein-mediated efflux. Int J Pharm 2006; 315: 148-57.

Saxena V, Hussain MD. Formulation and in vitro evaluation of 17-allyamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG) loaded polymeric mixed micelles for glioblastoma multiforme. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces 2013; 112: 350-5.

Liu X, Cui W, Li B, Hong Z. Targeted therapy for glioma using cyclic RGD-entrapped polyionic complex nanomicelles. Int J Nanomed 2012; 7: 2853-62.

Zhan C, Meng Q, Li Q, Feng L, Zhu J, Lu W. Cyclic, R.G.D- polyethylene glycol-polyethylenimine for intracranial glioblastoma-targeted gene delivery. Chem Asian J 2012; 7: 91-6.

Jiang X, Sha X, Xin H, Xu X, Gu J, Xia W, et al. Integrin-facilitated transcytosis for enhanced penetration of advanced gliomas by poly(trimethylene carbonate)-based nanoparticles encapsulating paclitaxel. Biomaterials 2013; 34: 2969-79.

Ren WH, Chang J, Yan CH, Qian XM, Long LX, He B, et al. Development of transferrin functionalized poly(ethylene glycol)/poly(lactic acid) amphiphilic block copolymeric micelles as a potential delivery system targeting brain glioma. J Mater Sci Mater Med 2010; 21:2673-81.

Zhang P, Hu L, Yin Q, Zhang Z, Feng L, Li Y. Transferrin-conjugated polyphosphoester hybrid micelle loading paclitaxel for brain-targeting delivery: synthesis, preparation and in vivo evaluation. J Control Release 2012; 159: 429-34.

Kuroda J, Kuratsu J, Yasunaga M. Potent antitumor effect of SN-38-incorporating polymeric micelle, NK012, against malignant glioma. Int J Cancer 2009; 124: 2505-11.

Kang JS, De Luca PP, Lee KC. Emerging PEGylated drugs. Expert Opin Emerg Drugs 2009; 14: 363-80.

Madhankumar AB, Slage-Webb B, Mintz A, Sheehan JM, Connor JR. Interleukin-13 receptor-targeted nanovesicles are a potential therapy for glioblastoma multiforme. Mol Cancer Ther 2006; 5: 3162-9.

Zara GP, Cavalli R, Bargoni A, Fundarò A, Vighetto D. Intravenous administration to rabbits of non-stealth and stealth doxorubicin-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles at increasing concentrations of stealth agent: pharmacokinetics and distribution of doxorubicin in brain and other tissues. J Drug Target 2002; 10: 327-35.

Ananda S, Nowak AK, Cher L, Dowling A, Brown C, Simes J, Rosenthal MA. Phase 2 trial of temozolomide and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in the treatment of patients with glioblastoma multiforme following concurrent radiotherapy and chemotherapy. J Clin Neurosci 2011; 18: 1444-8.

Beier CP, Schmid C, Gorlia T, Kleinletzenberger C, Beier D, Grauer O, et al. RNOP-09: pegylated liposomal doxorubicine and prolonged temozolomide in addition to radiotherapy in newly diagnosed glioblastoma -a phase II study. BMC Cancer 2009; 9: 308.

Rao CNR, Sood AK, Subrahmanyam KS, Govindaraj A. Graphene: The new two-dimensional nanomaterials. Angew Chem Int Ed 2009; 48: 7752-77.

Zhang K, Zhang LL, Zhao XS, Wu J. Graphene-polyaniline nanofiber composites as supercapacitor electrodes. Chem Mater 2010; 22: 1392-401.

Fang F, Long J, Zhao WF, Wang L, Chen G. pH-Responsive chitosan-mediated graphene dispersions. Langmuir 2010; 26: 16771-4.

Sun ST, Wu PY. A one-step strategy for thermal- and pH-responsive graphene oxide interpenetrating polymer hydrogel networks. J Mater Chem 2011; 21: 4095-7.

Yang K, Feng L, Shi X, Liu Z. Nano-graphene in biomedicine: theranostic applications. Chem Soc Rev 2013; 42: 530-47.

Hu H, Yu J, Li Y, Zhao J, Dong H. Engineering of a novel pluronic F127/graphene nanohybrid for pH responsive drug delivery. J Biomed Mater Res A 2012; 100: 141-8.

Shen H, Zhang L, Liu M, Zhang Z. Biomedical applications of graphene. Theranostics 2012; 2: 283-94.

Iyer AK, Khaled G, Fang J, Maeda H. Exploiting the enhanced permeability and retention effect for tumor targeting. Drug Discov Today 2006; 11: 812-8.

Sun X, Liu Z, Welsher K, Robinson JT, Goodwin A, Zaric S, Dai H. Nano-Graphene oxide for cellular imaging and drug delivery. Nano Res 2008; 1: 203-12.

Strakova N, Ehrmann J, Dzubak P, Bouchal J, Kolar Z. The synthetic ligand of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma ciglitazone affects human glioblastoma cell lines. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2004; 309: 1239-47.

Markovic ZM, Harhaji-Trajkovic LM, Todorovic-Markovic BM, Kepić DP, Arsikin KM, Jovanović SP, et al. In vitro comparison of the photothermal anticancer activity of graphene nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes. Biomaterials 2011; 32: 1121-9.

Stockmann-Juvala H, Naarala J, Loikkanen J, Vähäkangas K, Savolainen K. Fumonisin B1-induced apoptosis in neuroblastoma, glioblastoma and hypothalamic cell lines. Toxicology 2006; 225: 234-41.

Caruso G, Raudino G, Caffo M. Patented nanomedicines for the treatment of brain tumors. Pharm Pat Analyst 2013; 2: 1-10.

Kuan CT, Wakiya K, Herndon JE, Lipp ES, Pegram CN, Riggins GJ. MRP3; A molecular target for human glioblastoma multiforme immunotherapy. BMC Cancer 2010; 10: 1-15.

Gerstner ER, Yip S, Wang DL, Louis DN, Iafrate AJ, Batchelor TT. MGMT methylation is a prognostic biomarker in elderly patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. Neurology 2009; 73: 1509-10.

Evers B, Helleday T, Jonkers J. Targeting homologous recombination repair defects in cancer. Trends Pharmacol Sci 2010; 31: 372-80.

Bolderson E, Richard DJ, Zhou BB, Khanna KK. Recent advances in cancer therapy targeting proteins involved in DNA double-strand break repair. Clin Cancer Res 2009; 15: 6314-20.

Venza M, Visalli M, Alafaci C, Caffo M, Caruso G, Salpietro FM, et al. Interleukin-8 overexpression in astrocytomas is induced by prostaglandin E2 and is associated with the transcription factors CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-β and CCAAT/enhancer-binding homologous protein. Neurosurgery 2011; 69: 713-21.

Venza I, Visalli M, Fortunato C, Ruggeri M, Ratone S, Caffo M, et al. PGE2 induces interleukin-8 derepression in human astrocytoma through coordinated DNA demethylation and histone hyperacetylation. Epigenetics 2012; 7: 1315-30.




How to Cite

Gerardo Caruso, Daniele Marino, & Maria Caffo. (2014). Nanoparticles and CNS Delivery of Therapeutic Agents in the Treatment of Primary Brain Tumors. Journal of Analytical Oncology, 3(2),  105–112.