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Cancers 2017, 9(12), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers9120174

Fluorescence Sensing Using DNA Aptamers in Cancer Research and Clinical Diagnostics

1
Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Napoli Federico II, Via Cintia 21, 80126 Napoli, Italy
2
CNR, Istituto di Biostrutture e Bioimmagini, Via Mezzocannone 16, 80134 Napoli, Italy
3
CNR, Istituto per l’Endocrinologia e l’Oncologia “Gaetano Salvatore,” Via Pansini 5, 80131 Napoli, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 14 December 2017 / Accepted: 16 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aptamers: Promising Tools for Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy)

Abstract

Among the various advantages of aptamers over antibodies, remarkable is their ability to tolerate a large number of chemical modifications within their backbone or at the termini without losing significant activity. Indeed, aptamers can be easily equipped with a wide variety of reporter groups or coupled to different carriers, nanoparticles, or other biomolecules, thus producing valuable molecular recognition tools effective for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. This review reports an updated overview on fluorescent DNA aptamers, designed to recognize significant cancer biomarkers both in soluble or membrane-bound form. In many examples, the aptamer secondary structure switches induced by target recognition are suitably translated in a detectable fluorescent signal using either fluorescently-labelled or label-free aptamers. The fluorescence emission changes, producing an enhancement (“signal-on”) or a quenching (“signal-off”) effect, directly reflect the extent of the binding, thereby allowing for quantitative determination of the target in bioanalytical assays. Furthermore, several aptamers conjugated to fluorescent probes proved to be effective for applications in tumour diagnosis and intraoperative surgery, producing tumour-type specific, non-invasive in vivo imaging tools for cancer pre- and post-treatment assessment. View Full-Text
Keywords: DNA aptamers; fluorescence sensing; fluorescently-labelled aptamers; label-free aptamers; cancer biomarkers; tumour diagnosis DNA aptamers; fluorescence sensing; fluorescently-labelled aptamers; label-free aptamers; cancer biomarkers; tumour diagnosis
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Musumeci, D.; Platella, C.; Riccardi, C.; Moccia, F.; Montesarchio, D. Fluorescence Sensing Using DNA Aptamers in Cancer Research and Clinical Diagnostics. Cancers 2017, 9, 174.

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