Aim: This work focused on the development of transferrin-conjugated theranostic liposomes consisting of docetaxel (DXL) and upconversion nanoparticles for the diagnosis and treatment of gliomas. Materials & methods: Upconversion nanoparticles and docetaxel-loaded theranostic liposomes were prepared by a solvent injection method. Formulations were analyzed for physicochemical properties, encapsulation efficiency, drug release, elemental analysis, cytotoxicity and fluorescence. Results: The particle size was around 200 nm with spherical morphology and an encapsulation efficiency of up to 75.93%, was achieved for liposomes with an in vitro drug release of 71.10%. The IC50 values demonstrated enhanced cytotoxicity on C6 glioma cells with targeted liposomes in comparison with nontargeted liposomes. Conclusion: Prepared theranostic liposomes may be promising for clinical validation after an in vitro and in vivo evaluation on cell lines and animals, respectively.