Porphyrin NanoMetal-Organic Frameworks as Cancer Theranostic Agents


Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are hybrid multifunctional platforms that have found remarkable applications in cancer treatment and diagnostics. Independently, these materials can be employed in cancer treatment as intelligent drug carriers in chemotherapy, photothermal therapy, and photodynamic therapy; conversely, MOFs can further be used as diagnostic tools in fluorescence imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography imaging, and photoacoustic imaging. One essential property of these materials is their great ability to fine-tune their composition toward a specific application by way of a judicious choice of the starting building materials (metal nodes and organic ligands). Moreover, many advancements were made concerning the preparation of these materials, including the ability to downsize the crystallites yielding nanoporous porphyrin MOFs (NMOFs) which are of great interest for clinical treatment and diagnostic theranostic tools. The usage of porphyrins as ligands allows a high degree of multifunctionality. Historically these molecules are well known for their reactive oxygen species formation and strong fluorescence characteristics, and both have proved helpful in cancer treatment and diagnostic tools. The anticipation that porphyrins in MOFs could prompt the resulting materials to multifunctional theranostic platforms is a reality nowadays with a series of remarkable and ground-breaking reports available in the literature. This is particularly remarkable in the last five years, when the scientific community witnessed rapid development in porphyrin MOFs theranostic agents through the development of imaging technologies and treatment strategies for cancer. This manuscript reviews the most relevant recent results and achievements in this particular area of interest in MOF chemistry and application.



subject category

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Chemistry


Figueira, F; Tome, JPC; Paz, FAA

our authors


This research was funded by FCT/MEC (PIDDAC), grant numbers UIDB/50011/2020, UIDP/50011/2020, LA/P/0006/2020, UIDB/00100/2020, UIDP/00100/2020 and LA/P/0056/2020. The research contract of FF (REF-168-89-ARH/2018) is supported by national funds (OE), through FCT, in the scope of the framework contract foreseen in Nos. 4, 5 and 6 of article 23 of the Decree-Law 57/2016, of 29 August, changed by Law 57/2017, of 19 July.

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