Poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(D,L-lactic acid) (PEG-b-PLA) micelles and poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid)-block-polyethylene glycol)-block-poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA-b-PEG-b-PLGA) sol–gels have been extensively researched for systemic and localized drug delivery applications, respectively, and they have both progressed into humans for paclitaxel, an important yet poorly water-soluble chemotherapeutic agent. In this review article, preclinical and clinical research on PEG-b-PLA micelles and PLGA-b-PEG-b-PLGA sol–gels that has focused on paclitaxel will be updated, and recent research on other poorly water-soluble anticancer agents and delivery of drug combinations (i.e. multi-drug delivery) that seeks synergistic anticancer efficacy will be summarized. PEG-b-PLA micelles are a first-generation platform for the systemic multi-delivery of poorly water soluble anticancer agents. PLGA-b-PEG-b-PLGA sol–gels are a first-generation platform for the localized multi-drug delivery of water-soluble and/or poorly water-soluble anticancer agents. In summary, PEG-b-PLA micelles and PLGA-b-PEG-b-PLGA sol–gels may safely enable pre-clinical evaluation and clinical translation of poorly water-soluble anticancer agents, especially for promising, rapidly emerging anticancer combinations.