Nanotechnology applications in surgical oncology

Sunil Singhal, Shuming Nie, May D. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Surgery is currently the most effective and widely used procedure in treating human cancers, and the single most important predictor of patient survival is a complete surgical resection. Major opportunities exist to develop new and innovative technologies that could help the surgeon to delineate tumor margins, to identify residual tumor cells and micrometastases, and to determine if the tumor has been completely removed. Here we discuss recent advances in nanotechnology and optical instrumentation, and how these advances can be integrated for applications in surgical oncology. A fundamental rationale is that nanometer-sized particles such as quantum dots and colloidal gold have functional and structural properties that are not available from either discrete molecules or bulk materials. When conjugated with targeting ligands such as monoclonal antibodies, peptides, or small molecules, these nanoparticles can be used to target malignant tumor cells and tumor microenvironments with high specificity and affinity. In the mesoscopic-size range of 10-100 nm, nanoparticles also have large surface areas for conjugating to multiple diagnostic and therapeutic agents, opening new possibilities in integrated cancer imaging and therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-373
Number of pages15
JournalAnnual Review of Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 18 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Instrumentation
  • Intraoperative imaging
  • Molecular probes
  • Quantum dots
  • Raman scattering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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