The FGF2 aptamer inhibits the growth of FGF2-FGFR pathway driven lung cancer cells

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018 Sep 10;503(3):1330-1334. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2018.07.044. Epub 2018 Jul 11.


Cancers, including lung cancer, are a leading cause of death worldwide. To overcome this deadly disease, multiple modality inhibitors have been developed. These include cytotoxic agents, molecular targeted small molecules, such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and neutralizing antibodies. An aptamer is a short single-stranded nucleic acid molecule that is selected in vitro from a large random sequence library based on its high and specific affinity to a target molecule. Aptamers can be applied to therapeutics of various types of diseases, including cancer, due to their strong and specific neutralizing activities. However, the efficacy of aptamer-based therapy for cancer cells is not well characterized. In this study, we aimed to show that the FGF2 aptamer is effective for the treatment of FGF2 dependent lung cancer cells. We previously developed PC9GR lung cancer cells, whose proliferation is dependent on EGFR and FGF2-FGFR pathways in a cell autonomous manner. Using PC9GR cells, we demonstrate that the addition of the FGF2 aptamer induces more significant inhibition of PC9GR cell proliferation than does the addition of EGFR inhibitor alone. Furthermore, the addition of the FGF2 aptamer more significantly inhibits the downstream signals and induces apoptosis to a higher extent than does the addition of EGFR inhibitor alone. Our results show that the FGF2 aptamer inhibits the growth of FGF2-FGFR pathway-dependent lung cancer cells. The findings provide preclinical evidence that aptamers can be useful for cancer treatment.

Keywords: Aptamer; FGF2; Lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / metabolism
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / metabolism*
  • Gefitinib / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Aptamers, Nucleotide
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Gefitinib