Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The development of new effective cancer treatment methods has attracted much attention, mainly due to the limited efficacy and considerable side effects of currently used cancer treatment methods such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Photothermal therapy based on the use of plasmonically resonant metallic nanoparticles has emerged as a promising technique to eradicate cancer cells selectively. In this method, plasmonic nanoparticles are first preferentially uptaken by a tumor and then selectively heated by exposure to laser radiation with a specific plasmonic resonant wavelength, to destroy the tumor whilst minimizing damage to adjacent normal tissue. However, several parameters can limit the effectiveness of photothermal therapy, resulting in insufficient heating and potentially leading to cancer recurrence. One of these parameters is the patient's pain sensation during the treatment, if this is performed without use of anesthetic. Pain can restrict the level of applicable laser radiation, cause an interruption to the treatment course and, as such, affect its efficacy, as well as leading to a negative patient experience and consequential general population hesitancy to this type of therapy. Since having a comfortable and painless procedure is one of the important treatment goals in the clinic, along with its high effectiveness, and due to the relatively low number of studies devoted to this specific topic, we have compiled this review. Moreover, non-invasive and painless methods for temperature measurement during photothermal therapy (PTT), such as Raman spectroscopy and nanothermometry, will be discussed in the following. Here, we firstly outline the physical phenomena underlying the photothermal therapy, and then discuss studies devoted to photothermal cancer treatment concerning pain management and pathways for improved efficiency of photothermal therapy whilst minimizing pain experienced by the patient.

Original publication





Nanomaterials (Basel, Switzerland)

Publication Date





School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QL, UK.