Graphene and other 2D materials: a multidisciplinary analysis to uncover the hidden potential as cancer theranostics

Laura Fusco, Ariana Gazzi, Guotao Peng, Yuyoung Shin, Sandra Vranic, David Bedognetti, Flavia Vitale, Acelya Yilmazer, Xinliang Feng, Bengt Fadeel, Cinzia Casiraghi, Lucia Gemma Delogu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cancer represents one of the main causes of death in the world; hence the development of more specific approaches for its diagnosis and treatment is urgently needed in clinical practice. Here we aim at providing a comprehensive review on the use of 2-dimensional materials (2DMs) in cancer theranostics. In particular, we focus on graphene-related materials (GRMs), graphene hybrids, and graphdiyne (GDY), as well as other emerging 2DMs, such as MXene, tungsten disulfide (WS2), molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), black phosphorus (BP), silicene, antimonene (AM), germanene, biotite (black mica), metal organic frameworks (MOFs), and others. The results reported in the scientific literature in the last ten years (>200 papers) are dissected here with respect to the wide variety of combinations of imaging methodologies and therapeutic approaches, including drug/gene delivery, photothermal/photodynamic therapy, sonodynamic therapy, and immunotherapy. We provide a unique multidisciplinary approach in discussing the literature, which also includes a detailed section on the characterization methods used to analyze the material properties, highlighting the merits and limitations of the different approaches. The aim of this review is to show the strong potential of 2DMs for use as cancer theranostics, as well as to highlight issues that prevent the clinical translation of these materials. Overall, we hope to shed light on the hidden potential of the vast panorama of new and emerging 2DMs as clinical cancer theranostics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5435-5488
Number of pages54
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2020


  • 2D materials
  • Cancer theranostics
  • Future perspectives
  • Graphene
  • Nanomedicine
  • Humans
  • Surface Properties
  • Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Photochemotherapy/methods
  • Drug Delivery Systems/methods
  • Theranostic Nanomedicine/methods
  • Graphite/chemistry


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