The therapeutic potential of cancer gene therapy has been limited by the difficulty of delivering genetic material to target sites. Various biological and molecular barriers exist which need to be overcome before effective nonviral delivery systems can be applied successfully in oncology. Herein, various barriers are described and strategies to circumvent such obstacles are discussed, considering both the extracellular and intracellular setting. Development of multifunctional delivery systems holds much promise for the progression of gene delivery, and a growing body of evidence supports this approach involving rational design of vectors, with a unique molecular architecture. In addition, the potential application of composite gene delivery platforms is highlighted which may provide an alternative delivery strategy to traditional systemic administration.