Introduction: Pulmonary drug delivery is organ-specific and benefits local drug action for lung cancer. The use of nanotechnology and targeting ligand enables cellular-specific drug action. Combination approaches increase therapeutic efficacy and reduce adverse effects of cancer chemotherapeutics that have narrow therapeutic index window and high cytotoxicity levels. The current progress of inhaled cancer chemotherapeutics has not been examined with respect to targeting strategy and clinical application potential. Areas covered: This review examines the state of the art in passive (processing and formulation) and active (targeting ligand and receptor binding) technologies in association with the use of nanocarrier to combat lung cancer. It highlights routes to equip nanocarrier with targeting ligands as a function of the chemistry of participating biomolecules and challenges in inhalational nanoproduct development and clinical applications. Both research and review articles were examined using the Scopus, Elsevier, Web of Science, Chemical Abstracts, Medline, CASREACT, CHEMCATS, and CHEMLIST database with the majority of information retrieved between those of 2000–2018. Expert commentary: The therapeutic efficacy of targeting ligand-decorated nanocarriers needs to be demonstrated in vivo in the form of finished inhalational products. Their inhalation efficiency and medical responses require further examination. Clinical application of inhaled nanocancer chemotherapeutics is premature.
- targeting ligand