Yunus Y. Khan, Vasanti Suvarna


Many phytochemicals exhibit promising effects in treatment and prevention of various cancers, but due to their poor water solubility, stability, bio-availability and target specificity make administering them at therapeutic doses impractical. This is especially true for curcumin, quercetin, resveratrol and berberine. There is rising activity in developing nano drug delivery systems for these phytochemicals. These nano drug delivery systems mainly include liposomes, micelles, solid lipid nanoparticles, nanoemulsions, which are biocompatible and biodegradable nanoparticles. These nanoparticles can increase the stability and aqueous solubility of phytochemicals. They can also be used as sustained drug delivery systems. Much work has also proven that they enhance the absorption and bioavailability of the phytochemicals, protect them from premature enzymatic degradation or metabolism, hence prolonging their circulation time. Besides these parameters, in this review, we have also mentioned the improved target specificity of phytochemicals to cancer cells or tumours via passive or targeted delivery. Hence, nanotechnology cleared the way for developing phytochemical-loaded nanoparticles for prevention and treatment of cancer.


Liposomes, Phytochemicals, Phytoconstituents, Curcumin, Quercetin, Resveratrol, Berberine, Cancer

| PDF | HTML |


Society AC. American cancer society: cancer facts and fig. 2015 [M]. American Cancer Society Atlanta, GA; 2015.

Li B, Gao M, Chu X, Teng L, Lv C, Yang P, et al. The synergistic antitumor effects of all-trans retinoic acid and C-phycocyanin on the lung cancer A549 cells in vitro and in vivo. Eur J Pharmacol 2015;749:107-14.

Liu RH. Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals [J]. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:517S-520S.

Surh YJ. Cancer chemoprevention with dietary phytochemicals. J Nat Rev Cancer 2003;3:768-80.

Basnet P, Skalko-Basnet N. Curcumin: an anti-inflammatory molecule from a curry spice on the path to cancer treatment. J Mol 2011;16:4567-98.

Khushnud T, Mousa SA. Potential role of naturally derived polyphenols and their nanotechnology delivery in cancer. J Mol Biotechnol 2013;55:78-86.

Vidya Priyadarsini R, Nagini S. Cancer chemoprevention by dietary phytochemicals: promises and pitfalls. J Curr Pharm Biotechnol 2012;13:125-36.

Wagner V, Dullaart A, Bock A, Zweck A. The emerging nanomedicine landscape. Nat Biotechnol 2006;24:1211-7.

Petros RDeSimone J. Strategies in the design of nanoparticles for therapeutic applications. Nat Rev Drug Discovery 2010;9:615-27.

Scheinberg D, Villa C, Escorcia F, McDevitt M. Conscripts of the infinite armada: systemic cancer therapy using nanomaterials. Nat Rev Clin Oncol 2010;7:266-76.

Wolfram J, Suri K, Huang Y, Molinaro R, Borsoi C, Scott B, et al. Evaluation of anticancer activity of celastrol liposomes in prostate cancer cells. J Microencapsulation 2014;31:501-7.

Celia C, Trapasso E, Locatelli M, Navarra M, Ventura C, Wolfram J, et al. Anticancer activity of liposomal bergamot essential oil (BEO) on human neuroblastoma cells. Colloids Surf B 2013;112:548-53.

Paolino D, Cosco D, Gaspari M, Celano M, Wolfram J, Voce P, et al. Targeting the thyroid gland with thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)-nanoliposomes. Biomaterials 2014;35:7101-9.

Silva P, Bonifácio B, Ramos M, Negri K, Maria Bauab T, Chorilli M. Nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems and herbal medicines: a review. Int J Nanomed 2014;9:1-15.

Bangham A, Horne R. Negative staining of phospholipids and their structural modification by surface-active agents as observed in the electron microscope. J Mol Biol 1964;8:660-IN10.

Horne R, Bangham A, Whittkar V. Negatively stained lipoprotein membranes. Nature. 1963;200:1340.

Bangham Ahorne R. Glauert A, Dingle J, Lucy J. Action of saponin on biological cell membranes. Nature 1962;196:952-5.

Dhule S, Penfornis P, Frazier T, Walker R, Feldman J, Tan G, et al. Curcumin-loaded γ-cyclodextrin liposomal nanoparticles as delivery vehicles for osteosarcoma. Nanomed: Nanotechnol Biol Med 2012;8:440-51.

Saengkrit N, Saesoo S, Srinuanchai W, Phunpee S, Ruktanonchai U. Influence of curcumin-loaded cationic liposome on anticancer activity for cervical cancer therapy. Colloids Surf B 2014;114:349-56.

Jain S, Jain R, Chourasia M, Jain A, Chalasani K, Soni V, et al. Design and development of multivesicular liposomal depot delivery system for controlled systemic delivery of acyclovir sodium. AAPS PharmSciTech 2005;6:E35-E41.

Medina O, Zhu Y, Kairemo K. Targeted liposomal drug delivery in cancer. CPD 2004;10:2981-9.

Johnston M, Semple S, Klimuk S, Ansell S, Maurer N, Cullis P. Characterization of the drug retention and pharmacokinetic properties of liposomal nanoparticles containing dihydrosphingomyelin. Biochim Biophys Acta 2007;1768:1121-7.

Hofheinz R, Gnad-Vogt S, Beyer U, Hochhaus A. Liposomal encapsulated anti-cancer drugs. Anti-Cancer Drugs 2005;16:691-707.

Omri A, Suntres Z, Shek P. Enhanced activity of liposomal polymyxin B against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a rat model of lung infection. Biochem Pharmacol 2002;64:1407-13.

Schiffelers RM, Storm G, Bakker-Woudenberg IA. Host factors influencing the preferential localisation of sterically stabilised liposomes in Klebsiella pneumoniae-infected rat lung tissue. Pharm Res 2001:18:780–7.

Stano, Pasquale. Novel camptothecin analogue (Gimatecan)‐ containing liposomes prepared by the ethanol injection method. J Liposome Res 2004;14:87-109.

Li, Lan, Fadi S Braiteh, Razelle Kurzrock. Liposome-encapsulated curcumin. Cancer 2005;104:1322-31.

Orr, Wayne S. "RETRACTED: liposome-encapsulated curcumin suppresses neuroblastoma growth through nuclear factor-kappa B inhibition". Surgery 20012;151:736-44.

Narayanan K Narayanan, Dominick Nargi, Carla Randolph, Bhagavathi A. Narayanan, liposome encapsulation of curcumin and resveratrol in combination reduces prostate cancer incidence in PTEN knockout mice. Int J Cancer 2009;125:1-8.

De Paz, Esther. Production of water-soluble quercetin formulations by antisolvent precipitation and supercritical drying. J Supercrit Fluids 2015;104:281-90.

Yuan Z. Liposomal quercetin efficiently suppresses the growth of solid tumors in murine models. Clin Cancer Res 2006;12:3193-9.

Wong MChiu G. Liposome formulation of co-encapsulated vincristine and quercetin enhanced antitumor activity in a trastuzumab-insensitive breast tumor xenograft model. Nanomed: Nanotechnol Biol Med 2011;7:834-40.

Park, Soo Nam. Preparation of quercetin and rutin-loaded ceramide liposomes and drug-releasing effect in the liposome-in-hydrogel complex system. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2013;435:361-6.

Singh, Gurinder, Roopa S Pai. "Recent advances of resveratrol in nanostructured based delivery systems and in the management of HIV/AIDS". J Controlled Release 2014;194:178-88.

Mohan, Aarti. Novel resveratrol and 5-fluorouracil co-encapsulated in pegylated nanoliposomes improve the chemotherapeutic efficacy of combination against head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. BioMed Res Int 2014:1-14.

Wang W, Zhang L, Le Y, Chen J, Wang J, Yun J. Synergistic effect of PEGylated resveratrol on the delivery of anticancer drugs. Int J Pharm 2016;498:134-41.

Cosco D, Paolino D, Maiuolo J, Marzio L, Carafa M, Ventura C, et al. Ultradeformable liposomes as a multidrug carrier of resveratrol and 5-fluorouracil for their topical delivery. Int J Pharm 2015;489:1-10.

J Rip, L Chen, R Hartman, A van den Heuvel, A Reijerkerk, J van Kregten, et al. Gaillard, glutathione PEGylated liposomes: pharmacokinetics and delivery of cargo across the blood-brain barrier in rats. J Drug Targeting 2014;22:460-7.

Mahalingam Rajamanicka, Kiran Yellappa, Chelladurai Karthikeyan, Sanjeev Kumar. Pharmacokinetics, biodistribution, in vitro cytotoxicity and biocompatibility of Vitamin E TPGS coated trans-resveratrol liposomes. Colloids Surf B 2016;145:479-91.

Birdsall TC, Kelly GS. Berberine: therapeutic potential of an alkaloid found in several medicinal plants. Alternate Med Rev 1997;2:94-103.

Tan W Li, Chen M, Wang Y. Berberine hydrochloride: anticancer activity and nanoparticulate delivery system. Int J Nanomed 2011;6:1773-7.

Sailor G, Seth A, Parmar G, Chauhan S, Javia A. Formulation and in vitro evaluation of berberine-containing liposome optimised by 32 full factorial designs. J Appl Pharm Sci 2015;5:23-8.

YC Lin, CY Kuo, CC Hsu, WC Tsai, WC Li, MC Yu, et al. Wen, Optimizing manufacture of liposomal berberine with evaluation of its antihepatoma effects in a murine xenograft model. Int J Pharm 2012;441:381-8.

About this article




Liposomes, Phytochemicals, Phytoconstituents, Curcumin, Quercetin, Resveratrol, Berberine, Cancer





Additional Links

Manuscript Submission


International Journal of Current Pharmaceutical Research
Vol 9, Issue 1, 2017 Page: 20-24

Online ISSN



68 Views | 299 Downloads

Authors & Affiliations

Yunus Y. Khan
Department of Quality Assurance, SVKM’s Dr. Bhanuben Nanavati College of Pharmacy, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai 400056, India

Vasanti Suvarna
Department of Quality Assurance, SVKM’s Dr. Bhanuben Nanavati College of Pharmacy, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai 400056, India


  • There are currently no refbacks.