Lung cancer is considered one of the most lethal malignancies of all the cancer types due to its unique biological portrait and lack of effective screening techniques for the same. Although a significant amount of research has been conducted to explore strategies for the development of various diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for this malignancy, it still constitutes a major cause of cancer-related mortalities. The major lacunae in the current treatment of lung cancer include lack of availability of tools for conducting early diagnosis of the disease and ineffective strategies for drug targeting and delivery. Thus, improvement in these areas would significantly help in revolutionizing lung cancer management.
Nanotechnology has the potential to offer great avenues for early diagnosis of lung cancer, when the disease is still curable. As evident, nanodimensional materials hold promising potential for formulating effective and safe theranostic systems for lung malignancies. Materials consisting of polymers, inorganic (i.e., metals), and organic carriers and several bio-nano strategies have been investigated for developing safe and effective nanotheranostic regimes for lung cancer. Polymers constitute to provide a significant advantage as carriers for pulmonary drug delivery on account of their versatile fabrication characteristics, modification capabilities, and drug-loading abilities. Metal nanoparticles also find wide application in treatment of small cell lung cancer (SCLC), specifically in theranostic approaches, as they can simultaneously act as imaging agents as well as drug carriers.