J Funct Biomater. 2022 Jul 20;13(3):100. doi: 10.3390/jfb13030100.
Beyond their well-known applications in bone tissue engineering, hydroxyapatite nanoparticles (HAp NPs) have also been showing great promise for improved cancer therapy. The chemical structure of HAp NPs offers excellent possibilities for loading and delivering a broad range of anticancer drugs in a sustained, prolonged, and targeted manner and thus eliciting lower complications than conventional chemotherapeutic strategies. The incorporation of specific therapeutic elements into the basic composition of HAp NPs is another approach, alone or synergistically with drug release, to provide advanced anticancer effects such as the capability to inhibit the growth and metastasis of cancer cells through activating specific cell signaling pathways. HAp NPs can be easily converted to smart anticancer agents by applying different surface modification treatments to facilitate the targeting and killing of cancer cells without significant adverse effects on normal healthy cells. The applications in cancer diagnosis for magnetic and nuclear in vivo imaging are also promising as the detection of solid tumor cells is now achievable by utilizing superparamagnetic HAp NPs. The ongoing research emphasizes the use of HAp NPs in fabricating three-dimensional scaffolds for the treatment of cancerous tissues or organs, promoting the regeneration of healthy tissue after cancer detection and removal. This review provides a summary of HAp NP applications in cancer theranostics, highlighting the current limitations and the challenges ahead for this field to open new avenues for research.