Passive targeting is the foremost mechanism by which nanocarriers and drug-bearing macromolecules deliver their payload selectively to solid tumors. An important driver of passive targeting is the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect, which is the cornerstone of most carrier-based tumor-targeted drug delivery efforts. Despite the huge number of publications showcasing successes in preclinical animal models, translation to the clinic has been poor, with only a few nano-based drugs currently being used for the treatment of cancers. Several barriers and factors have been adduced for the low delivery efficiency to solid tumors and poor clinical translation, including the characteristics of the nanocarriers and macromolecules, vascular and physiological barriers, the heterogeneity of tumor blood supply which affects the homogenous distribution of nanocarriers within tumors, and the transport and penetration depth of macromolecules and nanoparticles in the tumor matrix. To address the challenges associated with poor tumor targeting and therapeutic efficacy in humans, the identified barriers that affect the efficiency of the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect for macromolecular therapeutics and nanoparticle delivery systems need to be overcome. In this review, approaches to facilitate improved EPR delivery outcomes and the clinical translation of novel macromolecular therapeutics and nanoparticle drug delivery systems are discussed.