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  1. Due to the theragnostic potential of mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs), these were extensively investigated as a novel approach to improve clinical outcomes. Boasting an impressive array of formulations and modifications, MSNs demonstrate significant in vivo efficacy when used to identify or treat myriad malignant diseases in preclinical models. As MSNs continue transitioning into clinical trials, a thorough understanding of the characteristics of effective MSNs is necessary. This review highlights recent discoveries and advances in MSN understanding and technology. Specific focus is given to cancer theragnostic approaches using MSNs. Characteristics of MSNs such as size, shape, and surface properties are discussed in relation to effective nanomedicine practice and projected clinical efficacy. Additionally, tumor-targeting options used with MSNs are presented with extensive discussion on active-targeting molecules. Methods for decreasing MSN toxicity, improving site-specific delivery, and controlling release of loaded molecules are further explained. Challenges facing the field and translation to clinical environments are presented alongside potential avenues for continuing investigations. 
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