Inhibition of Cell Proliferation by an Anti-EGFR Aptamer




Li, Na
Nguyen, Hong Hanh
Byrom, Michelle
Ellington, Andrew D.

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Public Library of Science


Aptamers continue to receive interest as potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of diseases, including cancer. In order to determine whether aptamers might eventually prove to be as useful as other clinical biopolymers, such as antibodies, we selected aptamers against an important clinical target, human epidermal growth factor receptor (hEGFR). The initial selection yielded only a single clone that could bind to hEGFR, but further mutation and optimization yielded a family of tight-binding aptamers. One of the selected aptamers, E07, bound tightly to the wild-type receptor (Kd = 2.4 nM). This aptamer can compete with EGF for binding, binds to a novel epitope on EGFR, and also binds a deletion mutant, EGFRvIII, that is commonly found in breast and lung cancers, and especially in grade IV glioblastoma multiforme, a cancer which has for the most part proved unresponsive to current therapies. The aptamer binds to cells expressing EGFR, blocks receptor autophosphorylation, and prevents proliferation of tumor cells in three-dimensional matrices. In short, the aptamer is a promising candidate for further development as an anti-tumor therapeutic. In addition, Aptamer E07 is readily internalized into EGFR-expressing cells, raising the possibility that it might be used to escort other anti-tumor or contrast agents.


Na Li is with AM Biotechnologies, Hong Hanh Nguyen is with University of California Los Angeles, Michelle Byrom is with UT Austin, Andrew D. Ellington is with UT Austin.

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Li N, Nguyen HH, Byrom M, Ellington AD (2011) Inhibition of Cell Proliferation by an Anti-EGFR Aptamer. PLoS ONE 6(6): e20299. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020299