The development of nanoparticles (NPs) for use in all facets of oncological disease detection and therapy has shown great progress over the past two decades. NPs have been tailored for use as contrast enhancement agents for imaging, drug delivery vehicles, and most recently as a therapeutic component in initiating tumor cell death in magnetic and photonic ablation therapies. Of the many possible core constituents of NPs, such as gold, silver, carbon nanotubes, fullerenes, manganese oxide, lipids, micelles, etc., iron oxide (or magnetite) based NPs have been extensively investigated due to their excellent superparamagnetic, biocompatible, and biodegradable properties. This review addresses recent applications of magnetite NPs in diagnosis, treatment, and treatment monitoring of cancer. Finally, some views will be discussed concerning the toxicity and clinical translation of iron oxide NPs and the future outlook of NP development to facilitate multiple therapies in a single formulation for cancer theranostics.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2015.08.022