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Evolution and Trends of Aptamers in Cancer Research: A Bibliometric Analysis of the Literature over the Last Decade


Song Jiang, Mao-Sheng Liu, Ting Wang and Kun-He Zhang*   Pages 1 - 21 ( 21 )


Objective: Aptamers are increasingly applied in cancer research. Here, we have performed the first bibliometric analysis to demonstrate the evolution of aptamers in cancer research over the past decade and to reveal future trends.

Method: Original articles and reviews on aptamers in cancer research published from 2013 to 2022 were retrieved from the Web of Science Core Collection database. VOSviewer, CiteSpace, and R software were used for bibliometric analysis of the literature and visualization of the results.

Results: A total of 1627 eligible publications were analyzed. Annual and cumulative publications have been found to be steadily increased. China was the most productive country (884 publications) and Hunan University was the most productive institution (97 publications). The United States had the highest level of international collaboration (betweenness centrality = 0.55). Wei-Hong Tan was the most productive author (68 publications) and Craig Tuerk was the most cited author (387 citations). Analytical Chemistry and Biosensors and Bioelectronics were the most influential journals in this field. Three major themes were identified: aptamer selection techniques, aptamer-targeted drug delivery, and aptasensors for cancer detection. The research hotspots have shifted from aptamer selection, targeted drug delivery, molecular imaging, and biomarker detection to electrochemical aptasensors and therapeutic applications. The future may focus on high specificity and affinity in aptamer selection, aptasensor fabrication, aptamer- targeted drug delivery, and therapeutic aptamer development.

Conclusion: The field of aptamers in cancer research has been steadily developing over the past decade, and future research may focus on aptamer application in cancer detection and therapy and the improvement of aptamer selection.


Nucleic acid aptamers, cancer research, bibliometric analysis, knowledge landscape, research evolution, research trend.


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