Aptamer based drug delivery systems are gaining the importance in anticancer therapy due to their targeted drug delivery efficiency without harming the normal cells. The present work formulated the pH-dependent aptamer functionalized polymer-based drug delivery system against human lung cancer. The prepared aptamer functionalized doxorubicin (DOX) loaded poly (D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), poly (N-vinylpyrrolidone) (PVP) nanoparticles (APT-DOX-PLGA-PVP NPs) were spherical in shape with an average size of 87.168 nm. The crystallography and presence of the PLGA (poly (D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid)) and DOX (doxorubicin) in APT-DOX-PLGA-PVP NPs were indicated by the X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transforms infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer (NMR). The pH-dependent aptamer AS1411 based drug release triggered the cancer cell death was evidenced by cytotoxicity assay, flow cytometry, and fluorescent microscopic imaging. In addition, the cellular uptake of the DOX was determined and the apoptosis-related signaling pathway in the A549 cells was studied by Western blot analysis. Further, the in vivo study revealed that mice treated with APT-DOX-PLGA-PVP NPs were significantly recovered from cancer as evident by mice weight and tumor size followed by the histopathological study. It was reported that the APT-DOX-PLGA-PVP NPs induced the apoptosis through the activation of the apoptosis-related proteins. Hence, the present study revealed that the APT-DOX-PLGA-PVP NPs improved the therapeutic efficiency through the nucleolin receptor endocytosis targeted drug release. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.