The development of nanomedicines for the treatment of cancer focuses on the local targeted delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs to enhance drug efficacy and reduce adverse effects. The nanomedicines which are currently approved for clinical use are mainly successful in terms of improved bioavailability and tolerability but do not necessarily increase drug performance. Therefore, there is a need for improved drug carrier systems which are able to deliver high doses of anti-cancer drugs to the tumor. Stimuli responsive carriers are promising candidates since drug release can be triggered locally in the tumor via internal (i.e. pH, redox potential, metabolite or enzyme concentration) or external (i.e. heat, ultrasound, light, magnetic field) stimuli. This review summarizes the recent progress in the transition towards stimuli responsive nanomedicines (i.e. liposomes, polymeric micelles, nanogels and mesoporous silica nanoparticles) and other therapy modalities that are currently developed in the fight against cancer like the application of ultrasound, tumor normalization and phototherapy. Furthermore, the potential role of image guided drug delivery in the development of new nanomedicines and its clinical application is discussed. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.