Cancer immunotherapy, or the utilization of the body’s immune system to attack tumor cells, has gained prominence over the past few decades as a viable cancer treatment strategy. Recently approved immunotherapeutics have conferred remission upon patients with previously bleak outcomes and have expanded the number of tools available to treat cancer. Nanoparticles – including polymeric, liposomal, and metallic formulations – naturally traffic to the spleen and lymph organs and the relevant immune cells therein, making them good candidates for delivery of immunotherapeutic agents. Metallic nanoparticle formulations, in particular, are advantageous because of their potential for dense surface functionalization and their capability for optical or heat-based therapeutic methods. Many research groups have investigated the potential of nanoparticle-mediated delivery platforms to improve the efficacy of immunotherapies. Despite the significant preclinical successes demonstrated by many of these platforms over the last twenty years, only a few metallic nanoparticles have successfully entered clinical trials with none achieving FDA approval for cancer therapy. In this review, we will discuss preclinical research and clinical trials involving metallic nanoparticles (MNPs) for cancer immunotherapy applications and discuss the potential for clinical translation of MNPs.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2017.11.022