Receptor-based targeting of therapeutics may be a fascinating proposition to improve the therapeutic efficacy of encapsulated drugs. The development of safe and effective nanomedicines is a prerequisite in the current nanotechnological scenario. Currently, the surface engineering of nanocarriers has attracted great attention for targeted therapeutic delivery by selective binding of targeting ligand to the specific receptors present on the surface of cells. In this review, we have discussed the current status of various receptors such as transferrin, lectoferrin, lectin, folate, human EGF receptor, scavenger, nuclear and integrin, which are over-expressed on the surface of cancer cells; along with the relevance of targeted delivery systems such as nanoparticles, polymersomes, dendrimers, liposomes and carbon nanotubes. The review also focuses on the effective utilization of receptor-based targeted delivery systems for the management of cancer in effective ways by minimizing the drug-associated side effects and improving the therapeutic efficacy of developed nano-architectures.