Noninvasive techniques, such as breath tests (urea breath test), blood pressure measurements using a sphygmomanometer and electrocardiography, were employed by a physician to perform classical diagnosis. The use of state-of-the-art noninvasive therapies at the organ level in modern medicine has gradually become possible. However, cancer treatment demands spatially and temporally controlled noninvasive therapy at the cell level because nonspecific toxicity often causes complicated side effects. To increase survival in cancer patients further, combination therapy and combination drugs are explored which demand high specificity to avoid combined-drug side effects. We believe that high specificity could be obtained by implementing near-infrared (NIR) light-assisted nanoparticles in photothermal therapy, chemotherapy, and photodynamic therapy. To refine this therapy and subsequently achieve high efficiency, novel nanomaterials have been designed and modified either to enhance the uptake and drug delivery to the cancer site, or control treatment to administer therapy efficiently. These modifications and developments have been demonstrated to achieve spatial and temporal control when conducting an in vivo xenograft, because the NIR light penetrated effectively the biological tissue. The nanoplatforms discussed in this review are grouped under the following subheadings: Au nanorods (NRs), Au nanoshells, other Au-related nanomaterials, graphene oxide, upconversion nanoparticles, and other related materials (including materials such as CuS, Fe3O4-related systems, and carbon nanotubes (CNTs)).
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