DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics16010043 ISSN: 1999-4923

Chitosan and Cyclodextrins—Versatile Materials Used to Create Drug Delivery Systems for Gastrointestinal Cancers

Alfred Najm, Adelina-Gabriela Niculescu, Alexandra Bolocan, Marius Rădulescu, Alexandru Mihai Grumezescu, Mircea Beuran, Bogdan Severus Gaspar
  • Pharmaceutical Science

Gastrointestinal cancers are characterized by a frequent incidence, a high number of associated deaths, and a tremendous burden on the medical system and patients worldwide. As conventional chemotherapeutic drugs face numerous limitations, researchers started to investigate better alternatives for extending drug efficacy and limiting adverse effects. A remarkably increasing interest has been addressed to chitosan and cyclodextrins, two highly versatile natural carbohydrate materials endowed with unique physicochemical properties. In this respect, numerous studies reported on fabricating various chitosan and cyclodextrin-based formulations that enabled prolonged circulation times, improved cellular internalization of carried drugs, preferential uptake by the targeted cells, reduced side effects, enhanced apoptosis rates, and increased tumor suppression rates. Therefore, this paper aims to briefly present the advantageous properties of these oligo- and polysaccharides for designing drug delivery systems, further focusing the discussion on nanocarrier systems based on chitosan/cyclodextrins for treating different gastrointestinal cancers. Specifically, there are reviewed studies describing promising solutions for colorectal, liver, gastric, pancreatic, and other types of cancers of the digestive system towards creating an updated framework of what concerns anticancer chitosan/cyclodextrin-based drug delivery systems.

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