The goal of precision therapy is to efficiently treat cancer without side effects. Aptamers are a class of small ligands composed of single-stranded oligonucleotides that bind to their targets with high affinity and specificity. In this study, we identified an ssDNA aptamer specifically targeting Maver-1 lymphoma cells with high binding affinity (Kd = 70±8 pmol/L). Interestingly, cellular cycle studies revealed that exposure of Maver-1 cells to synthetic aptamers triggered S-phase arrest of 40% of the cells (vs. 18% baseline). Confocal microscopy confirmed specific cell binding of aptamers and the resultant endocytosis into Maver-1 cells. Subsequent functional assays validated the fact that aptamer internalization into targeted cells is a prerequisite for Maver-1 cell growth inhibition. Importantly, aptamer-induced S-phase arrest induced enhanced chemotherapeutic results involving cytarabine, which primarily kills lymphoma cells at S-phase. Combination treatments revealed that aptamer re-exposure considerably primed Maver-1 cells for cytarabine chemotherapy, thus achieving a synergistic killing effect by reaching cell death rates as high as 61% (vs. 13% or 14% induced by aptamer or cytarabine treatment alone). These findings demonstrated that aptamers do not only act as molecular ligands but can also function as biotherapeutic agents by inducing S-phase arrest of lymphoma cells. In addition, logical combination of aptamer and cytarabine treatments ushers the way to a unique approach in precision lymphoma chemotherapy.
- S-phase arrest
- Synergistic chemotherapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)