INTRODUCTION: The application of doxorubicin (DOX) in cancer therapy has been limited due to its drug resistance and poor internalization. Graphene oxide (GO) nanostructures have the capacity for DOX delivery while promoting its cytotoxicity in cancer.
AREAS COVERED: The favorable characteristics of GO nanocomposites, preparation method, and application in cancer therapy are described. Then, DOX resistance in cancer is discussed. The GO-mediated photothermal therapy and DOX delivery for cancer suppression are described. Preparation of stimuli-responsive GO nanocomposites, surface functionalization, hybrid nanoparticles, and theranostic applications are emphasized in DOX chemotherapy.
EXPERT OPINION: Graphene oxide nanoparticle-based photothermal therapy maximizes the anti-cancer activity of DOX against cancer cells. Apart from DOX delivery, GO nanomaterials are capable of loading anti-cancer agents and genetic tools to minimize drug resistance and enhance the cytolytic impact of DOX in cancer eradication. To enhance DOX accumulation in cancer cells, stimuli-responsive (redox-, light-, enzyme- and pH-sensitive) GO nanoparticles have been developed for DOX delivery. Further development of targeted delivery of DOX-loaded GO nanomaterials against cancer cells may be achieved by surface modification of polymers such as polyethylene glycol, hyaluronic acid, and chitosan. Doxorubicin-loaded GO nanoparticles have demonstrated theranostic potential for simultaneous diagnosis and therapy. Hybridization of GO with other nanocarriers such as silica and gold nanoparticles further broadens their potential anti-cancer therapy applications.