Multifunctional liposomes loaded with quantum dots (QDs) and anticancer drugs were prepared for simultaneous bioimaging and drug delivery. Different formulations, including cationic, PEGylated and deformable liposomes, were compared for their theranostic efficiency. We had evaluated the physicochemical characteristics of these liposomes. The developed liposomes were examined using experimental platforms of cytotoxicity, cell migration, cellular uptake, in vivo melanoma imaging and drug accumulation in tumors. The average size of various nanocomposite liposomes was found to be 92-134 nm. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed the presence of QDs within liposomal bilayers. The incorporation of polyethylene glycol (PEG) and Span 20 into the liposomes greatly increased the fluidity of the bilayers. The liposomes provided sustained release of camptothecin and irinotecan. The cytotoxicity and cell migration assay demonstrated superior activity of cationic liposomes compared with other carriers. Cationic liposomes also showed a significant fluorescence signal in melanoma cells after internalization. The liposomes were intratumorally administered to a melanoma-bearing mouse. Cationic liposomes showed the brightest fluorescence in tumors, followed by classical liposomes. This signal could last for up to 24 h for cationic nanosystems. Intratumoral accumulation of camptothecin from free control was 35 nmol g(-1); it could be increased to 50 nmol g(-1) after loading with cationic liposomes. However, encapsulation of irinotecan into liposomes did not further increase intratumoral drug accumulation. Cationic liposomes were preferable to other liposomes as nanocarriers in both bioimaging and therapeutic approaches.