Aptamer-based biosensors and application in tumor theranostics

Cancer Sci. 2022 Jan;113(1):7-16. doi: 10.1111/cas.15194. Epub 2021 Nov 16.


An aptamer is a short oligonucleotide chain that can specifically recognize targeting analytes. Due to its high specificity, low cost, and good biocompatibility, aptamers as the targeting elements of biosensors have been applied widely in non-invasive tumor imaging and treatment in situ to replace traditional methods. In this review, we will summarize recent advances in using aptamer-based biosensors in tumor diagnosis. After a brief introduction of the advantage of aptamers compared with enzyme sensors and immune sensors, the different sensing designs and mechanisms based on 3 signal transduction modes will be reviewed to cover different kinds of analytical methods, including: electrochemistry analysis, colorimetry analysis, and fluorescence analysis. Finally, the prospective advantages of aptamer-based biosensors in tumor theranostics and post-treatment monitoring are also evaluated in this review.

Keywords: colorimetric aptasensor; electrochemical aptasensor; fluorescent aptasensor; tumor diagnosis; tumor marker.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Biosensing Techniques
  • Calorimetry
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Electrochemical Techniques
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Precision Medicine


  • Aptamers, Nucleotide
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Hydrogen Peroxide