Tumor-targeted delivery of anticancer drugs using dendrimers has been recognized as a promising strategy to increase efficiency and reduce adverse effects of chemotherapy. Herein, we developed a dendrimer-based drug delivery system targeting Flt-1 (a receptor for vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF)) receptor to improve therapeutic efficacy of gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer. Synthesized polyethylene glycol (PEG)-cored PAMAM dendrimers, which bear anionic carboxylic acid groups on the surface were modified with PEG chains, which were then conjugated with Flt-1 antibody. Following structural and chemical characterization studies, gemcitabine HCl-dendrimer inclusion complexes were successfully prepared. These complexes were efficiently engulfed by Fit-i expressing pancreatic cancer cells, which enhanced the cytotoxicity of gemcitabine. Moreover, pancreatic tumors established in mice were highly targeted by PEG-cored Flt-1 antibody-conjugated dendrimers and increased accumulation of these gemcitabine-loaded complexes exhibited satisfactory in vivo anti-cancer efficacy. In conclusion, dendrimer-based targeted delivery of chemotherapeutics may serve as a promising approach for the treatment of malignancies such as pancreatic cancer that do not benefit from conventional chemotherapy. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.