The increasing demands for early, accurate and ultrasensitive diagnosis of cancers demonstrate the importance of the development of new amplification strategies or diagnostic technologies. In the present study, an aptamer-based electrochemical biosensor for ultrasensitive and selective detection of leukemia cancer cells has been introduced. The thiolated sgc8c aptamer was immobilized on gold nanoparticles-coated magnetic Fe3O4 nanoparticles (Apt-GMNPs). Ethidium bromide (EB), intercalated into the stem of the aptamer hairpin, provides the read-out signal for the quantification of the leukemia cancer cells. After introduction of the leukemia cancer cells onto the Apt-GMNPs, the hairpin structure of the aptamer is disrupted and the intercalator molecules are released, resulting in a decrease of the electrochemical signal. The immobilization of nitrogen-doped graphene nanosheets on the electrode surface provides an excellent platform for amplifying the read-out signal. Under optimal conditions, the aptasensor exhibits a linear response over a wide dynamic range of leukemia cancer cells from 10 to 1×106cellmL-1. The present protocol provides a highly sensitive, selective, simple, and robust method for early stage detection of leukemia cancer. Furthermore, the fabricated aptasensor was successfully used for the detection of leukemia cancer cells in complex media such as human blood plasma, without any serious interference. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier B.V.