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Spurred on by advances in materials chemistry and nanotechnology, scientists have developed many novel nanopreparations for cancer diagnosis and therapy. To treat complex malignant tumors effectively, multifunctional nanomedicines with targeting ability, imaging properties and controlled drug release behavior should be designed and exploited. The therapeutic efficiency of loaded drugs can be dramatically improved using redox-responsive nanoplatforms which can sense the differences in the redox status of tumor tissues and healthy ones. Redox-sensitive nanocarriers can be constructed from both organic and inorganic nanomaterials; however, at present, drug delivery nanovectors progressively lean towards inorganic nanomaterials because of their facile synthesis/modification and their unique physicochemical properties. In this review, we focus specifically on the preparation and application of redox-sensitive nanosystems based on mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs), carbon nanomaterials, magnetic nanoparticles, gold nanomaterials and other inorganic nanomaterials. We discuss relevant examples of redox-sensitive nanosystems in each category. Finally, we discuss current challenges and future strategies from the aspect of material design and practical application.