Camptothecin (CPT) is a potent anticancer agent. The clinical application of CPT is restricted by poor water solubility and instability under physiological conditions. Solubilization and stabilization of CPT were realized through nanoparticulate systems of amphiphilic cyclodextrins, poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) or poly-epsilon-caprolactone (PCL). Nanoparticles were prepared with nanoprecipitation technique, whereas cyclodextrin nanoparticles were prepared from preformed inclusion complexes of CPT with amphiphilic cyclodextrins. Polymeric nanoparticles, on the other hand, were loaded with CPT:HP-beta-CD inclusion complex to solubilize and stabilize the drug. Mean particle sizes were under 275 nm, and poly-dispersity indices were lower than 0.2 for all formulations. Drug-loading values were significantly higher for amphiphilic cyclodextrin nanoparticles when compared with those for PLGA and PCL nanoparticles. Nanoparticle formulations showed a significant controlled release profile extended up to 12 days for amphiphilic cyclodextrin nanoparticles and 48 h for polymeric nanoparticles. Anticancer efficacy of the nanoparticles was evaluated in comparison with CPT solution in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) on MCF-7 breast adenocarcinoma cells. Amphiphilic cyclodextrin nanoparticles showed higher anticancer efficacy than PLGA or PCL nanoparticles loaded with CPT and the CPT solution in DMSO. These results indicated that CPT-loaded amphiphilic cyclodextrin nanoparticles might provide a promising carrier system for the effective delivery of this anticancer drug having bioavailability problems. (c) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.