Aptamer-based radioimmunotherapy: the feasibility and prospect in cancer therapy

  • Li Li
  • Wei Wang
  • Xiangshang Xu
  • Hui Wang
  • Shujie Liao
  • Wei Li
  • Weina Zhang
  • Dan Liu
  • Bo Cao
  • Shixuan Wang
  • Keng Shen
  • Ding Ma


Radioimmunotherapy (RIT) has emerged as an attractive and promising strategy for the management of malignant diseases. It has been proven to be quite effective in the treatment of numerous tumors, such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, metastatic prostate cancer, melanoma, thyroid cancer, colon cancer and so on. The RIT currently used is mainly based on monoclonal antibodies to recognize target antigens. As antibodies are large molecules, this method of RIT has some limitations in in vivo use, such as the immunogenicity, the high costs and low efficiency of production. Aptamer is discovered and selected by SELEX technology. As specific recognizers and binders, aptamers and antibodies have such a close similarity as to be interchangeable to some extent. But, aptamers have many advantages over antibodies: higher affinity and specificity, smaller molecular weight, more easily synthesized and modified, more rapidly penetrating into tumors, higher tumor-to-blood distribution ratio and more easily to be cleared. In addition, since aptamer has almost no immunogenicity in vivo, it can be repeatedly administered. Thus, we believe that aptamer-based RIT will be a feasible and promising way to treat human cancers, and it might display better results in cancer treatment than antibody-based RIT. In conclusion, aptamer-based RIT is hopeful to become a key therapeutics in cancer radiotherapy in the near future.


Radioimmunotherapy Monoclonal antibody Aptamer Radionuclide 



This work was supported by the National Key Technology R&D Program of China (2008BAI57B01), National Natural Science Foundation of China (81072132), and National Natural Science Funds for Young Scholar of China (30901586/C1701).

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest among the authors in this work.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li Li
    • 1
  • Wei Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiangshang Xu
    • 3
  • Hui Wang
    • 1
  • Shujie Liao
    • 1
  • Wei Li
    • 1
  • Weina Zhang
    • 1
  • Dan Liu
    • 1
  • Bo Cao
    • 1
  • Shixuan Wang
    • 1
  • Keng Shen
    • 4
  • Ding Ma
    • 1
  1. 1.Cancer Biology Research Center, Tongji HospitalHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nanfang HospitalSouthern Medical UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Cancer Research Institute, Tongji HospitalHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Peking Union Medical CollegeChinese Academy of Medical ScienceBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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