First published 19 July 2017



The development of chemoresistance and inability in elimination of cancer stem cells are among the key limitations of cancer chemotherapy. Novel molecular therapeutic strategies able to overcome such limitations are urgently needed for future effective management of cancer. In this report, we show that EpCAM-aptamer-guided survivin RNAi effectively downregulated survivin both in colorectal cancer cells in vitro and in a mouse xenograft model for colorectal cancer. When combined with the conventional chemotherapeutic agents, the aptamer-guided survivin RNAi was able to enhance the sensitivity towards 5-FU or oxaliplatin in colorectal cancer stem cells, increase apoptosis, inhibit tumour growth and improve the overall survival of mice bearing xenograft colorectal cancer. Our results indicate that survivin is one of the key players responsible for the innate chemoresistance of colorectal cancer stem cells. Thus, aptamer-mediated targeting of survivin in cancer stem cells in combination with chemotherapeutic drugs constitutes a new avenue to improve treatment outcome in oncologic clinics.