Chemotherapeutic regimens are often restricted by dose-limiting toxicities that arise from drug exposure to off-site tissues. Nanoparticle drug carriers that specifically deliver therapeutics to the site of malignant tissue are being actively researched today. One strategy is to utilize materials that are light-responsive, such that the carrier can be triggered to release its drug payload at the distinct time and location of light exposure. This review discusses recent advances in the development of such light-responsive drug carriers. With continued optimization and in vivo validation, these approaches may offer novel treatment options for cancer management.