Many therapeutic agents have failed in their clinical development, due to the toxic effects associated with non-transformed tissues. In this context, nanotechnology has been exploited to overcome such limitations, and also improve navigation across biological barriers. Amongst the many materials used in nanomedicine, with promising properties as therapeutic carriers, the following one stands out: biodegradable and biocompatible polymers. Polymeric nanoparticles are ideal candidates for drug delivery, given the versatility of raw materials and their feasibility in large-scale production. Furthermore, polymeric nanoparticles show great potential for easy surface modifications to optimize pharmacokinetics, including the half-life in circulation and targeted tissue delivery. Herein, we provide an overview of the current applications of polymeric nanoparticles as platforms in the development of novel nanomedicines for cancer treatment. In particular, we will focus on the raw materials that are widely used for polymeric nanoparticle generation, current methods for formulation, mechanism of action, and clinical investigations. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.