Importance of the field: More than 10 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year, and the development of effective cancer treatments is consequently of great significance. Cancer therapy is unfortunately hampered by severe dose-limiting side effects that reduce the efficacy of cancer treatments. In the search for more effective cancer treatments, nanoparticle- based drug delivery systems, such as liposomes, that are capable of delivering their drug payload selectively to cancer cells are among the most promising approaches. Areas covered in this review: This review provides an overview of current strategies for improving the different stages of liposomal cancer therapy, which involve transporting drug-loaded liposomes through the bloodstream, increasing tumor accumulation, and improving drug release and cancer cell uptake after accumulation at the tumor target site. What the reader will gain: The review focuses on strategies that exploit characteristic features of solid tumors, such as abnormal vasculature, overexpression of receptors and enzymes, as well as acidic and thiolytic characteristics of the tumor microenvironment. Take home message: It is concluded that the design of new liposomal drug delivery systems that better exploit tumor characteristic features is likely to result in more efficacious cancer treatments.