Research Papers:

Aptamer-guided DNA tetrahedron as a novel targeted drug delivery system for MUC1-expressing breast cancer cells in vitro

Bindong Dai _, Yan Hu, JinHong Duan and Xian-Da Yang

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:38257-38269. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9431

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Bindong Dai1, Yan Hu1, JinHong Duan1, Xian-Da Yang1

1Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China

Correspondence to:

Xian-Da Yang, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: MUC1, aptamer, DNA tetrahedron, targeted drug delivery, cancer

Received: January 26, 2016     Accepted: May 01, 2016     Published: May 18, 2016


Mucin 1 (MUC1) is an important molecular target for cancer treatment because it is overexpressed in most adenocarcinomas. In this study, a new MUC1-targeted drug delivery system was assembled using an aptamer (Apt) that could recognize MUC1 and a DNA tetrahedron (Td) that could carry doxorubicin (Dox) within its DNA structure. The complex thus formed (Apt-Td) had an average size of 12.38 nm and was negatively charged. Similar to the MUC1 aptamer, the Apt-Td could preferentially bind with MUC1-positive MCF-7 breast cancer cells. A drug loading experiment revealed that each Apt-Td complex could carry approximately 25 Dox molecules. Moreover, Apt-Td selectively delivered Dox into the MUC1-positive breast cancer cells but reduced Dox uptake by the MUC1-negative control cells. Dox-loaded Apt-Td also induced a significantly higher cytotoxicity to the MUC1-positive cancer cells versus the MUC1-negative control cells in vitro (p<0.01). These results suggest that Apt-Td may potentially serve as a drug carrier in the targeted treatment of MUC1-expressing breast cancers.

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