Gene Summary

Gene:BIRC5; baculoviral IAP repeat containing 5
Aliases: API4, EPR-1
Summary:This gene is a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) gene family, which encode negative regulatory proteins that prevent apoptotic cell death. IAP family members usually contain multiple baculovirus IAP repeat (BIR) domains, but this gene encodes proteins with only a single BIR domain. The encoded proteins also lack a C-terminus RING finger domain. Gene expression is high during fetal development and in most tumors, yet low in adult tissues. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding distinct isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jun 2011]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:baculoviral IAP repeat-containing protein 5
Source:NCBIAccessed: 16 March, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 16 March 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 16 March, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (9)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Entity Topic PubMed Papers
Breast CancerBIRC5 and Breast Cancer View Publications278
Lung Cancer, Small CellSurvivin Expression in Colorectal Cancer View Publications236
Bladder CancerBIRC5 and Bladder Cancer View Publications137
Lung CancerSurvivin Expression in Non Small Lung Cancer
Researchers in Germany (Monzo, 1999) used RT-PCR to detect survivin gene transcripts in 83 NSCLC tumour samples and in paired normal lung tissues. The survivin gene transcript was found in 71 (86%) of the tumours and in only 10 (12%) of the normal lung samples. Moreover, the 12 patients without survivin expression were found to have significantly better survival than the 71 patients with survivin expression.
View Publications131
Skin CancerBIRC5 and Skin Cancer View Publications74
NeuroblastomaSurvivin Expression in Neuroblastoma View Publications57
Thyroid CancerBIRC5 and Thyroid Cancer View Publications21
Wilms TumourBIRC5 and Wilms Tumour View Publications5

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: BIRC5 (cancer-related)

Ling X, Xu C, Fan C, et al.
FL118 induces p53-dependent senescence in colorectal cancer cells by promoting degradation of MdmX.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(24):7487-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
Anticancer agent FL118 was recently identified in screening of small-molecule inhibitors of human survivin expression. Although FL118 is a camptothecin analogue, its antitumor potency is much superior to other FDA-approved camptothecin analogues (irinotecan and topotecan). The mechanism of action (MOA) underlying the antitumor effects of FL118 remains to be fully elucidated. Here, we report that FL118 activates tumor suppressor p53 as a novel MOA in p53 wild-type cancer cells. Our studies show that this MOA involves an induction of proteasomal degradation of MdmX, a critical negative regulator of p53, in a manner largely independent of ATM-dependent DNA damage signaling pathway but dependent on E3-competent Mdm2. FL118 inhibits p53 polyubiquitination and monoubiquitination by Mdm2-MdmX E3 complex in cells and in cell-free systems. In contrast, FL118 stimulates Mdm2-mediated MdmX ubiquitination. Coimmunoprecipitation revealed that FL118 slightly decreases Mdm2-p53 interactions and moderately increases Mdm2-MdmX interactions, suggesting a change of targeting specificity of Mdm2-MdmX E3 complex from p53 to MdmX, resulting in accelerated MdmX degradation. As a result, p53 ubiquitination by Mdm2-MdmX E3 complex is reduced, which in turn activates p53 signaling. Activation of the p53 pathway by FL118 induces p53-dependent senescence in colorectal cancer cells. However, in the absence of p53 or in the presence of MdmX overexpression, FL118 promotes p53-independent apoptosis. These two distinct cellular consequences collectively contribute to the potent effects of FL118 to inhibit clonogenic potential of colon cancer cells. This study identifies a potential application of FL118 as an MdmX inhibitor for targeted therapies.

Hou W, Guan J, Lu H, et al.
The effects of dexamethasone on the proliferation and apoptosis of human ovarian cancer cells induced by paclitaxel.
J Ovarian Res. 2014; 7:89 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Dexamethasone (DEX) has been routinely used as a pre-treatment in the clinical application of paclitaxel (PTX) to treat ovarian cancer. However, PTX-induced apoptosis might be inhibited by DEX. This study was undertaken to investigate the effects of DEX on the apoptosis induced by PTX.
METHODS: Both of SKOV-3 and HO-8910 human ovarian cancer cells were divided into four groups: (1) untreated (Con); (2) treated with DEX (0.1 μM) alone; (3) treated with PTX (50 nM); and (4) pre-treated with DEX (0.1 μM), and 24 h later, treated with PTX (DEX + PTX). Cell proliferation was determined by the 3-(4,5)-dimethylthiahiazo (-z-y1)-3,5-di- phenytetrazoliumromide (MTT) dye uptake method, while cell apoptosis was analyzed by propidium iodide (PI) staining and flow cytometry. Then, reverse transcription polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCRs) were applied to semi-quantitative analysis, followed by western blot analysis. Statistical analysis was performed, with Fisher's least significant difference test.
RESULTS: Our results demonstrated that DEX can differentially inhibit SKOV-3 and HO-8910 cell proliferation induced by PTX and decrease the apoptosis rates in cancer cells. Pre-treatment with DEX could up-regulate the expressions of members of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family (Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL) and members of IAP family (survivin). The expression of cleaved caspase-3 was down-regulated by DEX, shown by semi-quantitative RT-PCRs and western blot analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data gained invaluable insights of the antagonistic mechanisms of DEX on PTX-induced cancer cell death and may provide new methods of using DEX as antineoplastic drugs or agents in the clinical treatment for ovarian cancer patients.

Sprouse AA, Herbert BS
Resveratrol augments paclitaxel treatment in MDA-MB-231 and paclitaxel-resistant MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells.
Anticancer Res. 2014; 34(10):5363-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Resveratrol (RES) inhibits cell growth, induces apoptosis and augments chemotherapeutics in multiple cancer types, although its effects on drug-resistant cancer cells are unknown.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: To study the effects of resveratrol in triple-negative breast cancer cells that are resistant to the common cancer drug, paclitaxel, a novel paclitaxel-resistant cell line was generated from the MDA-MB-231 cell line.
RESULTS: The resistant MDA-MB-231/PacR cells exhibited a 12-fold increased resistance to paclitaxel. RES treatment reduced cell proliferation and colony formation and increased senescence and apoptosis in both parental and resistant cells. Importantly, RES augmented the effects of paclitaxel in both cell lines. Up-regulation of the MDR1 and CYP2C8 genes were shown to be potential mechanisms of paclitaxel resistance in the resistant cells.
CONCLUSION: RES, both alone and in combination with paclitaxel, may be useful in the treatment of paclitaxel-sensitive and paclitaxel-resistant triple-negative breast cancer cells.

Zhao X, Yuan Y, Zhang Z, et al.
Effects of shRNA-silenced livin and survivin on lung cancer cell proliferation and apoptosis.
J BUON. 2014 Jul-Sep; 19(3):757-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To evaluate the effects of short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated silencing of livin and survivin on the proliferation and apoptosis of A549 lung cancer cells.
METHODS: We designed and constructed the eukaryotic expression vectors pSilencer-livin and pSilencer-survivin which contain the Livin and Survivin genes, respectively, and transfected them into liposome-combined lung cancer A549 cells. The cells were then divided into the blank control, plasmid control, Livin, Survivin, and co-transfected groups. Real-time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR) and Western blot assay were used to determine the mRNA and protein expression levels of Livin and Survivin. The MTT assay was used to evaluate the changes in cell proliferation. The TUNEL assay was used to evaluate the apoptotic rate.
RESULTS: The shRNA eukaryotic expression vectors of Livin and Survivin were successfully constructed. The mRNA and protein expression of Livin and Survivin were significantly lower in the co-transfected group than in the control groups (p<0.05) . At 48, 60, and 72 hrs after transfection, the cell growth inhibition rate was significantly higher in the co-transfected group than in the single- transfected group (p<0.05) . At 48 hrs after transfection, the apoptotic rate significantly increased (p<0.05) .
CONCLUSION: Co-silencing of Livin and Survivin can effectively inhibit the cell proliferation and apoptosis of lung cancer cells.

Kalinsky K, Lim EA, Andreopoulou E, et al.
Increased expression of tumor proliferation genes in Hispanic women with early-stage breast cancer.
Cancer Invest. 2014; 32(9):439-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hispanic women have higher breast cancer mortality compared to non-Hispanic whites. We evaluated for Proliferation Axis Score differences, as determined by Oncotype Dx, in Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women with newly diagnosed breast cancer. We matched 219 women, based upon age, stage, and nodal status. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, Hispanic women with hormone-sensitive, HER2-negative early-stage breast cancer had a higher Proliferation Axis Score. No differences were seen in Recurrence Score, ER, PR, or HER2 by Oncotype DX. CCNB1 and AURKA were significantly higher in Hispanic women. These tumor differences may help explain breast cancer outcome differences between the two ethnicities.

Han SS, Han S, Kamberos NL
Piperlongumine inhibits the proliferation and survival of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell lines irrespective of glucocorticoid resistance.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014; 452(3):669-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
Piperlongumine (PL), a pepper plant alkaloid from Piper longum, has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. PL selectively kills both solid and hematologic cancer cells, but not normal counterparts. Here we evaluated the effect of PL on the proliferation and survival of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), including glucocorticoid (GC)-resistant B-ALL. Regardless of GC-resistance, PL inhibited the proliferation of all B-ALL cell lines, but not normal B cells, in a dose- and time-dependent manner and induced apoptosis via elevation of ROS. Interestingly, PL did not sensitize most of B-ALL cell lines to dexamethasone (DEX). Only UoC-B1 exhibited a weak synergistic effect between PL and DEX. All B-ALL cell lines tested exhibited constitutive activation of multiple transcription factors (TFs), including AP-1, MYC, NF-κB, SP1, STAT1, STAT3, STAT6 and YY1. Treatment of the B-ALL cells with PL significantly downregulated these TFs and modulated their target genes. While activation of AURKB, BIRC5, E2F1, and MYB mRNA levels were significantly downregulated by PL, but SOX4 and XBP levels were increased by PL. Intriguingly, PL also increased the expression of p21 in B-ALL cells through a p53-independent mechanism. Given that these TFs and their target genes play critical roles in a variety of hematological malignancies, our findings provide a strong preclinical rationale for considering PL as a new therapeutic agent for the treatment of B-cell malignancies, including B-ALL and GC-resistant B-ALL.

Zhu H, Chen X, Chen B, et al.
Activating transcription factor 4 mediates a multidrug resistance phenotype of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cells through transactivation of STAT3 expression.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 354(1):142-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
Multidrug resistance (MDR) is a major challenge to the clinical treatment of esophageal cancer. The stress response gene activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) is involved in homeostasis and cellular protection. However, relatively little is known about the expression and function of ATF4 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) MDR. In this study, we investigate the potential role and mechanisms of ATF4 in ESCC MDR. We demonstrated that overexpression of ATF4 promotes the MDR phenotype in ESCC cells, while depletion of ATF4 in the MDR ESCC cell line induces drug re-sensitization. We also demonstrated that ATF4 transactivates STAT3 expression by directly binding to the signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) promoter, resulting in MDR in ESCC cells. Significantly, inhibition of STAT3 by small interfering RNA (siRNA) or a selective inhibitor (JSI-124) reintroduces therapeutic sensitivity. In addition, increased Bcl-2, survivin, and MRP1 expression levels were observed in ATF4-overexpressing cells. In conclusion, ATF4 may promote MDR in ESCC cells through the up-regulation of STAT3 expression, and thus is an attractive therapeutic target to combat therapeutic resistance in ESCC.

Vidaurre S, Fitzpatrick C, Burzio VA, et al.
Down-regulation of the antisense mitochondrial non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) is a unique vulnerability of cancer cells and a potential target for cancer therapy.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(39):27182-98 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Hallmarks of cancer are fundamental principles involved in cancer progression. We propose an additional generalized hallmark of malignant transformation corresponding to the differential expression of a family of mitochondrial ncRNAs (ncmtRNAs) that comprises sense and antisense members, all of which contain stem-loop structures. Normal proliferating cells express sense (SncmtRNA) and antisense (ASncmtRNA) transcripts. In contrast, the ASncmtRNAs are down-regulated in tumor cells regardless of tissue of origin. Here we show that knockdown of the low copy number of the ASncmtRNAs in several tumor cell lines induces cell death by apoptosis without affecting the viability of normal cells. In addition, knockdown of ASncmtRNAs potentiates apoptotic cell death by inhibiting survivin expression, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) family. Down-regulation of survivin is at the translational level and is probably mediated by microRNAs generated by dicing of the double-stranded stem of the ASncmtRNAs, as suggested by evidence presented here, in which the ASncmtRNAs are bound to Dicer and knockdown of the ASncmtRNAs reduces reporter luciferase activity in a vector carrying the 3'-UTR of survivin mRNA. Taken together, down-regulation of the ASncmtRNAs constitutes a vulnerability or Achilles' heel of cancer cells, suggesting that the ASncmtRNAs are promising targets for cancer therapy.

Kyani K, Babaei E, Feizi MA, et al.
Detection of survivin 2α gene expression in thyroid nodules.
J Cancer Res Ther. 2014 Apr-Jun; 10(2):312-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Functional studies of the survivin splice variants have been performed almost exclusively in various types of cancer and produced remarkable advances in our understanding of cancer biology and cancer genetics.
AIM: To observation the expression of survivin 2α in thyroid nodules and estimate its potential as a new molecular marker in thyroid nodules screening and malignant thyroid, as well.
SETTING AND DESIGN: We detected the expression of a splice variant of survivin, survivin 2α, in thyroid nodules.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Expression of survivin 2α mRNA was evaluated with specific primers by Hemi-Nested RT-PCR in 77 thyroid nodules including malignant and benign tumors, non-tumoral (goiter and thyroiditis) as well as surgical margin, non-neoplastic normal tissues adjacent to the malignant lesions.
RESULT: Our data revealed for the first time the expression of survivin 2α in thyroid nodules. It was detected in 85.7% of non-neoplastic surgical margin tissues, 71.4% of non tumoral, 63.2% of tumoral samples. Also, the expression of survivin 2α in benign tumor samples (64.2%) is more than malignant groups (62.8%).
CONCLUSION: Survivin 2α expression is the highest in non-neoplastic surgical margin rather than other samples and the lowest expression was that of malignancy. According to the results, it can be concluded that survivin 2α protein may be has a vital protective effect throw survivin quenching due to the high expression in normal tissue compared with lesions.

Chang YJ, Li LT, Chen HA, et al.
Silencing survivin activates autophagy as an alternative survival pathway in HCC cells.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(10):9957-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
Autophagy is a survival mechanism that is activated in response to nutrient deprivation. The link between aberrant autophagy and cancer has been increasingly recognized. Survivin, an anti-apoptotic molecule, and the autophagy pathway are correlated with therapeutic responses to cancer. However, the role of autophagy in cancer progression remains unclear. Here, we generated survivin knockdown cells (survivin-KD) by introducing a short interfering RNA (siRNA) into hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, and we observed a 20 % reduction in the survival of these survivin-KD cells, as determined by MTT assay. In addition, an increased number of stress granules, increased positive staining by acridine orange and a shift in the high side scatter (SSC) cell population in flow cytometry analysis were observed in survivin-KD cells. Furthermore, electron microscopy revealed an increased number of autophagosomes in survivin-KD cells compared with scrambled control cells. Finally, we treated cells with an autophagy inhibitor, 3-MA, and observed a decrease in cell survival in survivin-KD cells compared with scrambled control cells. Our study suggests that an autophagy signal may be activated after the anti-apoptotic molecule survivin is suppressed. This finding implies that autophagy may be an alternative survival pathway in HCC cells and may provide a basis for the development of new therapeutic strategies for HCC.

Li H, Huang K, Liu X, et al.
Lithium chloride suppresses colorectal cancer cell survival and proliferation through ROS/GSK-3β/NF-κB signaling pathway.
Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2014; 2014:241864 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), a serine/threonine protein kinase, has been regarded as a potential therapeutic target for multiple human cancers. In addition, oxidative stress is closely related to all aspects of cancer. We sought to determine the biological function of lithium, one kind of GSK-3β inhibitors, in the process of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in colorectal cancer. In this study, we analyzed the cell apoptosis and proliferation by cell viability, EdU, and flow cytometry assays through administration of LiCl. We used polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting to establish the effect of GSK-3β inhibition on the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathway. Results showed administration of LiCl increased apoptosis and the level of ROS in colorectal cancer cells. Furthermore, the underlying mechanisms could be mediated by the reduction of NF-κB expression and NF-κB-mediated transcription. Taken together, our results demonstrated that therapeutic targeting of ROS/GSK-3β/NF-κB pathways may be an effective way for colorectal cancer intervention, although further preclinical and clinical testing are desirable.

Jin Y, Chen J, Feng Z, et al.
The expression of Survivin and NF-κB associated with prognostically worse clinicopathologic variables in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(10):9905-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Expressions of Survivin and nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B cells (NF-κB) are associated with a poor prognosis in many malignancies. However, their relationship in hepatocellular carcinoma remains unclear. To investigate the protein expression of Survivin and NF-κB, determine their role in the pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma, and correlate expression with patient survival outcome, immunohistochemistry was used to detect the protein expression of Survivin and NF-κB in 305 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma. Statistical analysis was performed to determine the relationship between the protein expression of Survivin and NF-κB and clinicopathological parameters, survival time, and prognosis. Survivin was expressed predominantly in the cytoplasm, and NF-κB was expressed mostly in the nucleolus. Survivin and NF-κB are expressed at significantly higher rates in hepatocellular carcinoma compared with benign tissue (75.7 vs 13.4 %, P < 0.01 and 79.0 vs 17.1 %, P < 0.01, respectively). Both Survivin and NF-κB expression levels are associated with poor prognostic factors, including tumor size, capsular invasion, tumor thrombus of the portal vein, metastasis of the lymph node, and clinical staging. There was an obvious positive correlation between the expression of Survivin and NF-κB in hepatocellular carcinoma (r = 0.23, P < 0.01). Patients expressing Survivin and NF-κB had significantly shorter survival compared with patients negative for protein expression (P < 0.01). The overexpressions of both Survivin and NF-κB are associated with worse survival outcome in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Thus, these proteins could be used as negative prognostic indicators.

Dandekar S, Romanos-Sirakis E, Pais F, et al.
Wnt inhibition leads to improved chemosensitivity in paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Br J Haematol. 2014; 167(1):87-99 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
While childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is now highly curable, the dismal prognosis for children who relapse warrants novel therapeutic approaches. Previously, using an integrated genomic analysis of matched diagnosis-relapse paired samples, we identified overactivation of the Wnt pathway as a possible mechanism of recurrence. To validate these findings and document whether Wnt inhibition may sensitize cells to chemotherapy, we analysed the expression of activated β-catenin (and its downstream target BIRC5) using multiparameter phosphoflow cytometry and tested the efficacy of a recently developed Wnt inhibitor, iCRT14, in ALL cell lines and patient samples. We observed increased activation of β-catenin at relapse in 6/10 patients. Furthermore, treatment of leukaemic cell lines with iCRT14 led to significant downregulation of Wnt target genes and combination with traditional chemotherapeutic drugs resulted in a synergistic decrease in viability as well as a significant increase in apoptotic cell death. Finally, pre-treatment of purified blasts from patients with relapsed leukaemia with the Wnt inhibitor followed by exposure to prednisolone, restored chemosensitivity in these cells. Our results demonstrate that overactivation of the Wnt pathway may contribute to chemoresistance in relapsed childhood ALL and that Wnt-inhibition may be a promising therapeutic approach.

Zou K, Tong E, Xu Y, et al.
Down regulation of mammalian target of rapamycin decreases HIF-1α and survivin expression in anoxic lung adenocarcinoma A549 cell to elemene and/or irradiation.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(10):9735-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is associated with gene transcription, protein translation and initiation, the synthesis of ribosomes, and apoptosis. The down regulation of mTOR induces apoptosis in malignant tumor cells. Elemene, a sesquiterpene from the traditional Chinese medicinal herb Curcuma wenyujin, is active against a wide range of tumor types. In the present study, decreasing the expression of mTOR with mTOR small interfering RNA (siRNA) increased the toxicity of elemene and irradiation against hypoxic lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells. The results showed that transfecting mTOR siRNA into A549 cells significantly decreased the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) and survivin. Compared to control cells, cells transfected with mTOR siRNA that were hypoxic exhibited increased apoptosis. Overall, the expression of HIF-1α and survivin proteins decreased following treatment with elemene and irradiation and after transfection with mTOR siRNA. Apoptosis was higher in transfected than in untransfected cells treated with elemene and/or irradiation.

Waligórska-Stachura J, Andrusiewicz M, Sawicka-Gutaj N, et al.
Survivin delta Ex3 overexpression in thyroid malignancies.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(6):e100534 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CONTEXT: Thyroid cancer incidence has increased significantly during the past decades and is the most common type of endocrine malignancy. Many factors in thyroid cancers were studied as independent predictors of a poor prognosis.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to evaluate survivin expression - BIRC5 and its splice variants: survivin delta Ex3 and survivin 2B in benign and malignant thyroid nodules.
DESIGN: Thyroid tissues samples from a group of 50 patients consisting of: 29 patients with thyroid cancers (including medullary, papillary, follicular and undifferentiated types), as well as from 21 patients with non-cancerous thyroid tissues (including: 11 benign thyroid lesions and 10 healthy thyroid samples).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The analysis of the survivin gene expression and evaluation of the level of splice variants were performed using quantitative RT-PCR.
RESULTS: A statistically significant higher level of expression of survivin gene - BIRC5 was detected in thyroid malignant nodules, when compared with benign lesions and healthy thyroid samples. Moreover, the comparison of survivin relative expression in different staged tumors (pT1, pT3, and pT4) revealed a much higher amount of BIRC5 transcripts in tumor tissues of pT3/pT4. The comparison of survivin expression between benign thyroid nodules and healthy thyroid did not reveal significant differences. Importantly, high expression rate of the survivin delta Ex3 splice variant characterized thyroid carcinomas.
CONCLUSION: The results suggest that survivin, especially survivin delta Ex3 splice variant being overexpress, is a characteristic feature of thyroid malignancy.

Nigam J, Chandra A, Kazmi HR, et al.
Expression of survivin mRNA in gallbladder cancer: a diagnostic and prognostic marker?
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(9):9241-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Survivin, an inhibitor of apoptosis, has been shown to be expressed in various malignancies. However, its role in gallbladder cancer (GBC) has not been evaluated yet. We investigated its expression in peripheral blood of patients with gallbladder diseases (gallstone disease (GSD), n = 30; GBC, n = 39) and compared with healthy controls (n = 25). Survivin expression was correlated with clinicopathological parameters, diagnosis, and prognosis of patients with GBC. Expression of survivin messenger RNA (mRNA) in blood was evaluated by real-time PCR. Significantly higher (P < 0.0001) expression of survivin mRNA was observed in GBC (2.2-fold) and GSD (1.52-fold) as compared to control. In GBC, increased survivin expression was significantly associated with higher tumor stage (stage III vs. stage II; P < 0.0001) and tumor differentiation (poor and moderate vs. well differentiated; P < 0.0001). No significant correlation was observed with any of the other clinicopathological parameters (age, gender, and presence or absence of gallstones) studied. Cutoff value of survivin mRNA relative quantification (RQ) was 1.08, with a sensitivity of 98.55 % and specificity of 100 % for the diseased group (GSD or GBC). RQ value of 1.71 differentiated GBC from GSD with a sensitivity of 89.74 % and specificity of 100 %. Increased expression of survivin was associated with a shorter median overall survival (12 vs. 18 months) in GBC patients. Differential expression of survivin in GBC suggests its possible role and association with poor prognosis. Expression of survivin in peripheral blood could be useful both in the diagnosis and prognosis of GBC.

Umemori Y, Kuribayashi K, Nirasawa S, et al.
Protein kinase C ζ regulates survivin expression and inhibits apoptosis in colon cancer.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 45(3):1043-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway transduces cell survival signals in different malignancies. Protein kinase C ζ (PKCζ) is one of the molecules involved in this pathway. In this study, we investigated the role of PKCζ in apoptosis. Short interfering RNA against PKCζ (siPKCζ) sensitized HCT116 and SW480 colon cancer cells to TRAIL‑induced apoptosis. Among anti-apoptotic proteins, survivin protein and mRNA expression levels decreased after siPKCζ transfection while protein half-life did not change. The expression levels of survivin and PKCζ were correlated in 18 colon cancer specimens (r=0.72, P=3.01x10‑4). Chemosensitivity to 5-FU was enhanced by siPKCζ in HCT116 and SW480 cells. These results indicate that PKCζ regulates survivin expression levels and inhibits apoptosis in colon cancer cells. This study provides a rationale for targeting PKCζ in combination with chemotherapy for colon cancer treatment.

Koike H, Nitta T, Sekine Y, et al.
YM155 reverses rapamycin resistance in renal cancer by decreasing survivin.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2014; 140(10):1705-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor has exhibited promising anticancer activity for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). However, many patients acquire resistance to therapeutic agents leading to treatment failure. The objective of this study was to determine whether treatment with YM155, a novel small molecule inhibitor of survivin, could reverse rapamycin resistance in a rapamycin-resistant RCC.
METHODS: We induced a rapamycin-resistant clear cell carcinoma cell line (Caki-1-RapR). We showed that survivin gene expression was significantly up-regulated in Caki-1-RapR compared with that in its parent cells (Caki-1). Therefore, we hypothesized that targeting of survivin in Caki-1-RapR could reverse the resistant phenotype in tumor cells, thereby enhancing the therapeutic efficacy of rapamycin. We used both in vitro and in vivo models to test the efficacy of YM155 either as a single agent or in combination with rapamycin.
RESULTS: In Caki-1-RapR cells, YM155 significantly decreased survivin gene and protein expression levels and cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner in vitro. In addition, YM155 treatment significantly reversed rapamycin resistance in cancer cells. In a nude mouse tumor xenograft model, YM155 significantly inhibited the growth of Caki-1-RapR tumor. In addition, YM155 significantly enhanced the antitumor effects of rapamycin in Caki-1-RapR tumor.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest a potentially novel strategy to use YM155 to overcome the resistance in tumor cells, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of molecular target therapy in RCC.

Hayashi S, Mikami T, Murai Y, et al.
Α-tubulin nuclear overexpression is an indicator of poor prognosis in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Int J Mol Med. 2014; 34(2):483-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
In the present study, the newly established mouse monoclonal antibody, Y-49, binding to a specific epitope of α-tubulin, was used to examine immunohistochemical reactivity in 116 patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). The protein was detected at elevated levels in the nuclei of human proliferating cells by western blot analysis, flow cytometry and immunohistochemical analysis. The relatively weak binding in the cytoplasm was evident in almost all cases. The investigation of the correlation between immuno-histochemical positivity and clinicopathological variables revealed links with the MIB-1 proliferation index and poor survival. Nuclear positivity with Y-49 was more frequent in older-aged patients, those with nodal NHL and in those who harbored the diffuse large B-cell histological subtype, and was strongly associated with high MIB-1 labeling indices (LIs). Survival analysis by the Kaplan-Meier method revealed statistically significant differences between patients with high and low Y-49 LIs (p=0.0181), even in the group with advanced (stage III/IV) disease (p=0.0327). Multivariate analysis revealed that overexpression of α-tubulin is an independent prognostic factor in NHL with a relative risk of 2.786.

Gangopadhyay NN, Luketich JD, Opest A, et al.
PARP inhibitor activates the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis in primary lung cancer cells.
Cancer Invest. 2014; 32(7):339-48 [PubMed] Related Publications
This investigation was aimed to see whether PJ34(TM), a PARP inhibitor, could exert cytotoxicity in six nonsmall cell lung cancer cell lines developed from surgically resected tissues. Using various biochemical assays, we have seen that PJ34(TM) effects are consistent between untreated and treated samples but still somewhat variable between each cell line. Changes in protein expression and mitochondrial membrane potential between treated and untreated cells were indicating the possibility of apoptosis induction through an intrinsic pathway which causes cytotoxicity. Present results open the possibility of elucidating a decisive mechanism and effectiveness of chemotherapeutics specific to a patient.

Christensen LL, Holm A, Rantala J, et al.
Functional screening identifies miRNAs influencing apoptosis and proliferation in colorectal cancer.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(6):e96767 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play a critical role in many biological processes and are aberrantly expressed in human cancers. Particular miRNAs function either as tumor suppressors or oncogenes and appear to have diagnostic and prognostic significance. Although numerous miRNAs are dys-regulated in colorectal cancer (CRC) only a small fraction has been characterized functionally. Using high-throughput functional screening and miRNA profiling of clinical samples the present study aims at identifying miRNAs important for the control of cellular growth and/or apoptosis in CRC. The high-throughput functional screening was carried out in six CRC cell lines transfected with a pre-miR library including 319 synthetic human pre-miRs. Phenotypic alterations were evaluated by immunostaining of cleaved cPARP (apoptosis) or MKI67 (proliferation). Additionally, TaqMan Human MicroRNA Array Set v2.0 was used to profile the expression of 667 miRNAs in 14 normal colon mucosa and 46 microsatellite stable stage II CRC patients. Among the miRNAs that induced growth arrest and apoptosis in the CRC cell lines, and at same time were dys-regulated in the clinical samples, miR-375 was selected for further analysis. Independent in vitro analysis of transient and stable transfected CRC cell lines confirmed that miR-375 reduces cell viability through the induction of apoptotic death. We identified YAP1 as a direct miR-375 target in CRC and show that HELLS and NOLC1 are down-stream targets. Knock-down of YAP1 mimicked the phenotype induced by miR-375 over-expression indicating that miR-375 most likely exerts its pro-apoptotic role through YAP1 and its anti-apoptotic down-stream targets BIRC5 and BCL2L1. Finally, in vivo analysis of mouse xenograft tumors showed that miR-375 expression significantly reduced tumor growth. We conclude that the high-throughput screening successfully identified miRNAs that induce apoptosis and/or inhibit proliferation in CRC cells. Finally, combining the functional screening with profiling of CRC tissue samples we identified clinically relevant miRNAs and miRNA targets in CRC.

Zhang W, Lu Z, Kong G, et al.
Hepatitis B virus X protein accelerates hepatocarcinogenesis with partner survivin through modulating miR-520b and HBXIP.
Mol Cancer. 2014; 13:128 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hepatitis B virus X protein (HBx) plays crucial roles in hepatocarcinogenesis. However, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. We have reported that HBx is able to up-regulate survivin in hepatocellular carcinoma tissues. The oncopreotein hepatitis B X-interacting protein (HBXIP), a target of miR-520b, is involved in the development of cancer. In this study, we focus on the investigation of hepatocarcinogenesis mediated by HBx.
METHODS: The expression of HBx and survivin was examined in the liver tissues of HBx-Tg mice. The effect of HBx/survivin on the growth of LO2-X-S cells was determined by colony formation and transplantation in nude mice. The effect of HBx/survivin on promoter of miR-520b was determined by Western blot analysis, luciferase reporter gene assay, co-immunoprecipitation (co-IP) and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), respectively. The expression of HBx, survivin and HBXIP was detected by immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR in clinical HCC tissues, respectively. The DNA demethylation of HBXIP promoter was examined. The functional influence of miR-520b and HBXIP on proliferation of hepatoma cells was analyzed by MTT, colony formation, EdU and transplantation in nude mice in vitro and in vivo.
RESULTS: In this study, we provided evidence that HBx up-regulated survivin in the liver cancer tissues of HBx-Tg mice aged 18 M. The engineered LO2 cell lines with survivin and/or HBx were successfully established, termed LO2-X-S. MiR-520b was down-regulated in LO2-X-S cells and clinical HCC tissues. Our data revealed that HBx survivin-dependently down-regulated miR-520b through interacting with Sp1 in the cells. HBXIP was highly expressed in LO2-X-S cells, liver cancer tissues of HBx-Tg mice aged 18 M and clinical HCC tissues (75.17%, 112/149). The expression level of HBXIP was positively associated with those of HBx or survivin in clinical HCC tissues. In addition, we showed that HBx survivin-dependently up-regulated HBXIP through inducing demethylation of HBXIP promoter in LO2-X-S cells and clinical HCC tissues. In function, low level miR-520b and high level HBXIP mediated by HBx with partner survivin contributed to the growth of LO2-X-S cells in vitro and in vivo.
CONCLUSION: HBx accelerates hepatocarcinogenesis with partner survivin through modulating tumor suppressor miR-520b and oncoprotein HBXIP.

Qiu DM, Wang GL, Chen L, et al.
The expression of beclin-1, an autophagic gene, in hepatocellular carcinoma associated with clinical pathological and prognostic significance.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:327 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A role for autophagy, a conserved cellular response to stress, has recently been demonstrated in human cancers. Aberrant expression of Beclin-1, an important autophagic gene, has been reported in various human cancers. In the present study, we investigated the significance and relationship between Beclin-1 expression and cell proliferation, apoptosis, microvessel density (MVD) and clinical pathological changes or prognosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: A total of 103 primary HCC patients were involved in the study. Expression of Beclin-1, PCNA, NET-1, Bcl-2, Bax, Survivin in cancer cells and CD34 in stromal microvessels were evaluated immunohistochemically in tissue microarrays comprising 103 cases of HCC and 57 matched adjacent nontumor liver tissues. Correlations between clinicopathological characteristics and survival of HCC patients were explored.
RESULTS: The positive rate of Beclin-1 was significantly lower in HCC tissues than adjacent tissues (72.8 vs. 89.5%, χ2 = 6.085, P = 0.015). In HCC, Beclin-1 expression was negatively correlated with cirrhosis background (r = -0.216, P = 0.029), Edmondson grade (r = -0.249, P = 0.011), vascular invasion (r = -0.246, P = 0.012), PCNA (r = -0.242, P = 0.014), NET-1 (r = -0.245, P = 0.013), anti-apoptosis protein Bcl-2 (r = -0.245, P = 0.013) and MVD (r = -0.292, P = 0.003), and positively correlated with pro-apoptosis protein Bax (r = 0.242, P = 0.014).Significant differences in the 5-year survival rates were seen among patients with Beclin-1 strong positive (++) (59.1%, 13/22), moderate positive (+) (28.3%, 15/53) and weak negative expression (-) (14.6%, 7/28) (P = 0.043). Significant differences were detected between Beclin-1 (++) and either Beclin-1 (+) (P = 0.036) or Beclin-1 (-) groups (P = 0.008), but no significant difference between Beclin-1 (+) and Beclin-1 (-) groups (P = 0.281) was observed.Survival rates were positively related to high Beclin-1 co-expressed with low PCNA, NET-1, or Bcl-2, lower MVD, and high Bax. Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that Beclin-1 expression was an independent indicator for overall survival in HCC patients (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: The pathogenesis and progression of HCC are associated with reduced autophagy. The expression of Beclin-1 and Bax in HCC tissues may provide a synergistic effect towards inhibiting HCC proliferation, infiltration, metastasis and angiogenesis. Beclin-1 expression may be a valuable prognostic marker of HCC.

Pennati M, Sbarra S, De Cesare M, et al.
YM155 sensitizes triple-negative breast cancer to membrane-bound TRAIL through p38 MAPK- and CHOP-mediated DR5 upregulation.
Int J Cancer. 2015; 136(2):299-309 [PubMed] Related Publications
Because available treatments have limited efficacy in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), the identification of new therapeutic strategies to improve patients' outcome is urgently needed. In our study, we investigated the effects of the administration of the small molecule selective survivin suppressant YM155, alone or in association with CD34+ cells transduced with a replication-deficient adenovirus encoding the human tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) gene (CD34-TRAIL+ cells), in three TNBC cell models. YM155 exposure significantly impaired TNBC cell growth and selectively modulated survivin expression at both mRNA and protein level. In addition, co-culturing YM155-treated TNBC cells with CD34-TRAIL+ cells resulted in markedly increased cytotoxic effect and apoptotic response in comparison with single treatments. Such a chemosensitizing effect was observed only in TNBC cells inherently expressing DR5 and relied on the ability of YM155 to upregulate DR5 expression through a p38 MAPK- and CHOP-dependent mechanism. YM155/CD34-TRAIL+ combination also showed a significant inhibitory effect on the growth of DR5-expressing TNBC cells following xenotransplantation into NOD/SCID mice, in the absence of toxicity. Overall, our data (i) provide, for the first time, evidence that YM155 sensitizes TNBC cells to CD34-TRAIL+ cells-induced apoptosis by a mechanism involving the downregulation of survivin and the simultaneous p38 MAPK- and CHOP-mediated upregulation of DR5, and (ii) suggest the combination of YM155 with TRAIL-armed CD34+ progenitor cells as a promising therapeutic option for patients with TNBC expressing DR5.

Zhu Y, Liu XJ, Yang P, et al.
Alkylglyceronephosphate synthase (AGPS) alters lipid signaling pathways and supports chemotherapy resistance of glioma and hepatic carcinoma cell lines.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014; 15(7):3219-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chemotherapy continues to be a mainstay of cancer treatment, although drug resistance is a major obstacle. Lipid metabolism plays a critical role in cancer pathology, with elevated ether lipid levels. Recently, alkylglyceronephosphate synthase (AGPS), an enzyme that catalyzes the critical step in ether lipid synthesis, was shown to be up-regulated in multiple types of cancer cells and primary tumors. Here, we demonstrated that silencing of AGPS in chemotherapy resistance glioma U87MG/DDP and hepatic carcinoma HepG2/ADM cell lines resulted in reduced cell proliferation, increased drug sensitivity, cell cycle arrest and cell apoptosis through reducing the intracellular concentration of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), lysophosphatidic acid-ether (LPAe) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), resulting in reduction of LPA receptor and EP receptors mediated PI3K/AKT signaling pathways and the expression of several multi-drug resistance genes, like MDR1, MRP1 and ABCG2. β-catenin, caspase-3/8, Bcl-2 and survivin were also found to be involved. In summary, our studies indicate that AGPS plays a role in cancer chemotherapy resistance by mediating signaling lipid metabolism in cancer cells.

Harvey AE, Lashinger LM, Hays D, et al.
Calorie restriction decreases murine and human pancreatic tumor cell growth, nuclear factor-κB activation, and inflammation-related gene expression in an insulin-like growth factor-1-dependent manner.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(5):e94151 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Calorie restriction (CR) prevents obesity and has potent anticancer effects that may be mediated through its ability to reduce serum growth and inflammatory factors, particularly insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 and protumorigenic cytokines. IGF-1 is a nutrient-responsive growth factor that activates the inflammatory regulator nuclear factor (NF)-κB, which is linked to many types of cancers, including pancreatic cancer. We hypothesized that CR would inhibit pancreatic tumor growth through modulation of IGF-1-stimulated NF-κB activation and protumorigenic gene expression. To test this, 30 male C57BL/6 mice were randomized to either a control diet consumed ad libitum or a 30% CR diet administered in daily aliquots for 21 weeks, then were subcutaneously injected with syngeneic mouse pancreatic cancer cells (Panc02) and tumor growth was monitored for 5 weeks. Relative to controls, CR mice weighed less and had decreased serum IGF-1 levels and smaller tumors. Also, CR tumors demonstrated a 70% decrease in the expression of genes encoding the pro-inflammatory factors S100a9 and F4/80, and a 56% decrease in the macrophage chemoattractant, Ccl2. Similar CR effects on tumor growth and NF-κB-related gene expression were observed in a separate study of transplanted MiaPaCa-2 human pancreatic tumor cell growth in nude mice. In vitro analyses in Panc02 cells showed that IGF-1 treatment promoted NF-κB nuclear localization, increased DNA-binding of p65 and transcriptional activation, and increased expression of NF-κB downstream genes. Finally, the IGF-1-induced increase in expression of genes downstream of NF-κB (Ccdn1, Vegf, Birc5, and Ptgs2) was decreased significantly in the context of silenced p65. These findings suggest that the inhibitory effects of CR on Panc02 pancreatic tumor growth are associated with reduced IGF-1-dependent NF-κB activation.

Gong L, Qu L, Li Z, et al.
Gene therapy with biosynthetic nanoscale peptide Cecropin A driven by the survivin promoter for hepatocarcinoma cells.
J Biomed Nanotechnol. 2014; 10(7):1391-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The biosynthetic nanoscale peptide Cecropin A is postulated to disrupt microbial phospholipid membranes by forming stable or transient pores. We demonstrated previously that green fluorescent protein (GFP), driven by the survivin promoter, was expressed highly in HepG2 but not in LO2 cells when they were transfected with the recombinant plasmid reporter vector (pSURV-GFP). To investigate the selective killing effect of this survivin promoter-driven peptide toxin gene system on hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells in vitro, the recombinant plasmid pSURV-Cecropin A was constructed. HepG2 and LO2 cells were then transfected with the recombinant plasmid, which was driven by the survivin promoter, and the effects of Cecropin A were evaluated. Forty-eight hours after transfection with pSURV-Cecropin A, the growth of HepG2 cells was inhibited significantly. This finding was confirmed further by immunoblotting, which revealed consistently suppressed expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and cysteinyl aspartate specific proteinase-3 (caspase-3). Data demonstrated that the plasmid carrying the gene for the Cecropin A fusion protein was constructed successfully, and that its specific expression in HepG2 cells could provide the basis for targeted gene therapy in HCC. The identification of novel gene therapies for cancer is highly desirable to reduce drug toxicity and improve therapeutic outcomes..

Xia T, Cheng H, Zhu Y
Knockdown of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha reduces proliferation, induces apoptosis and attenuates the aggressive phenotype of retinoblastoma WERI-Rb-1 cells under hypoxic conditions.
Ann Clin Lab Sci. 2014; 44(2):134-44 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) plays a critical role in tumor cell adaption to hypoxia by inducing the transcription of numerous genes. The role of HIF-1α in malignant retinoblastoma remains unclear. We analyzed the role of HIF-1α in WERI-Rb-1 retinoblastoma cells under hypoxic conditions.
METHODS: CoCl2 (125 mmol/L) was added to the culture media to mimic hypoxia. HIF-1α was silenced using siRNA. Gene and protein expression were measured by semi-quantitative RT-PCR and Western blotting. Cell cycle and apoptosis were analyzed by flow cytometry. Cell proliferation, adhesion and invasion were assayed using MTT, Transwell invasion, and cell adhesion assays respectively.
RESULT: Hypoxia significantly upregulated HIF-1α protein expression and the HIF-1α target genes VEGF, GLUT1, and Survivin mRNA. HIF-1α mRNA expression was not affected by hypoxia. Transfection of the siRNA expression plasmid pRNAT-CMV3.2/Neo-HIF-1α silenced HIF-1α by approximately 80% in hypoxic WERI-Rb-1 cells. The knockdown of HIF-1α under hypoxic conditions downregulated VEGF, GLUT1, and Survivin mRNA. It also inhibited proliferation, promoted apoptosis, induced the G0/G1 phase cell cycle arrest, and reduced the adhesion and invasion of WERI-Rb-1 cells.
CONCLUSION: HIF-1α plays a major role in the survival and aggressive phenotype of retinoblastoma cells under hypoxic conditions. Targeting HIF-1α may be a promising therapeutic strategy for human malignant retinoblastoma.

Goossens-Beumer IJ, Zeestraten EC, Benard A, et al.
Clinical prognostic value of combined analysis of Aldh1, Survivin, and EpCAM expression in colorectal cancer.
Br J Cancer. 2014; 110(12):2935-44 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 10/06/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Tumour aggressiveness might be related to the degree of main cancer hallmark acquirement of tumour cells, reflected by expression levels of specific biomarkers. We investigated the expression of Aldh1, Survivin, and EpCAM, together reflecting main cancer hallmarks, in relation to clinical outcome of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients.
METHODS: Immunohistochemistry was performed using a tumour tissue microarray of TNM (Tumour, Node, Metastasis)-stage I-IV CRC tissues. Single-marker expression or their combination was assessed for associations with the clinical outcome of CRC patients (N=309).
RESULTS: Increased expression of Aldh1 or Survivin, or decreased expression of EpCAM was each associated with poor clinical outcome, and was therefore identified as clinically unfavourable expression. Analyses of the combination of all three markers showed worse clinical outcome, specifically in colon cancer patients, with an increasing number of markers showing unfavourable expression. Hazard ratios ranged up to 8.3 for overall survival (P<0.001), 36.6 for disease-specific survival (P<0.001), and 27.1 for distant recurrence-free survival (P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Our data identified combined expression levels of Aldh1, Survivin, and EpCAM as strong independent prognostic factors, with high hazard ratios, for survival and tumour recurrence in colon cancer patients, and therefore reflect tumour aggressiveness.

Qu L, Jiang M, Li Z, et al.
Inhibitory effect of biosynthetic nanoscale peptide Melittin on hepatocellular carcinoma, driven by survivin promoter.
J Biomed Nanotechnol. 2014; 10(4):695-706 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatic resection and orthotopic liver transplantation are the only potentially curative treatments for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) but are indicated only in a minority of patients. Biosynthetic nanoscale peptide Melittin (Mel) is postulated to disrupt microbial phospholipid membranes by formation of stable or transient pores. Survivin, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis family, is transcriptionally upregulated in most malignant tissues but not in normal tissues. It has been reported that the survivin promoter activity is tumor-specific and makes it a good candidate for construction of gene therapy vectors. In the present study, a non-viral vector (pSURV-Mel), encoding Mel gene, was developed to evaluate its anti-tumor effect in HCC cell lines and in vivo in a mouse model of human HCC xenograft tumor. Our results showed that the survivin promoter is specifically activated in tumor cells, and the pSURV-Mel plasmid expressed Mel selectively in tumor cells and also induced cytotoxicity. Moreover, intratumoral Injection of pSURV-Mel significantly suppressed the growth of xenograft tumors. Mechanistically, pSURV-Mel induced cell death by an apoptosis-dependent pathway. All taken together, this study elucidates a relatively safe, highly effective and cancer specific gene therapy strategy for HCC. The mechanisms of non-viral vector-induced cell death which were revealed by this work will shed light on the construction of more powerful vectors for cancer therapy.

Further References

Suzuki A, Ito T, Kawano H, et al.
Survivin initiates procaspase 3/p21 complex formation as a result of interaction with Cdk4 to resist Fas-mediated cell death.
Oncogene. 2000; 19(10):1346-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
Caspase 3 is an essential death factor for the Fas-mediated cell death, and its inactivation in cells is initiated by an interaction with p21 on mitochondria or with IAP family member ILP. Survivin is also a member of IAP family and is specifically expressed during embryogenesis and in tumor cells and suppresses cell death signaling. In our current study, we demonstrated that Survivin translocation into the nucleus is dependent on Fas stimulation and cell proliferation. Survivin also interacts with the cell cycle regulator Cdk4, leading to Cdk2/Cyclin E activation and Rb phosphorylation. As a result of Survivin/Cdk4 complex formation, p21 is released from its complex with Cdk4 and interacts with mitochondrial procaspase 3 to suppress Fas-mediated cell death. Here, we propose that Survivin supports procaspase 3/p21 complex formation as a result of interaction with Cdk4 resulting in suppression of cell death signaling.

Mahotka C, Wenzel M, Springer E, et al.
Survivin-deltaEx3 and survivin-2B: two novel splice variants of the apoptosis inhibitor survivin with different antiapoptotic properties.
Cancer Res. 1999; 59(24):6097-102 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recently, a novel antiapoptosis gene, i.e., survivin, was identified as a structurally unique member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family. Survivin expression is turned off during fetal development and not found in non-neoplastic adult human tissues but is again turned on in the most common human cancers. The antiapoptotic properties of survivin might provide a significant growth advantage in tumors and possibly also contribute to chemoresistance of cancer. Therefore, we analyzed the expression of survivin in human renal cell carcinomas (RCCs), known to be largely resistant to chemotherapy. Northern blot analysis and RT-PCR revealed survivin expression in newly established RCC cell lines (n = 11) of all major histological types. Moreover, we identified two novel splice variants of survivin, lacking exon 3 (survivin-deltaEx3) or retaining a part of intron 2 as a cryptic exon (survivin-2B). Both sequence alterations cause marked changes in the structure of the corresponding proteins, including structural modifications of the baculovirus inhibitor of apoptosis protein repeat domain. The role of the novel isoforms in the regulation of apoptosis was assessed in transfection experiments, showing conservation of antiapoptotic properties for survivin-deltaEx3 and a markedly reduced antiapoptotic potential for survivin-2B. In conclusion, our observations suggest a complex regulatory balance between the different isoforms of survivin, which might determine the response to proapoptotic stimuli, not only in human RCCs but also in fetal tissues and other types of cancer.

Li F, Ambrosini G, Chu EY, et al.
Control of apoptosis and mitotic spindle checkpoint by survivin.
Nature. 1998; 396(6711):580-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
Progression of the cell cycle and control of apoptosis (programmed cell death) are thought to be intimately linked processes, acting to preserve homeostasis and developmental morphogenesis. Although proteins that regulate apoptosis have been implicated in restraining cell-cycle entry and controlling ploidy (chromosome number), the effector molecules at the interface between cell proliferation and cell survival have remained elusive. Here we show that a new inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) protein, survivin, is expressed in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle in a cycle-regulated manner. At the beginning of mitosis, survivin associates with microtubules of the mitotic spindle in a specific and saturable reaction that is regulated by microtubule dynamics. Disruption of survivin-microtubule interactions results in loss of survivin's anti-apoptosis function and increased caspase-3 activity, a mechanism involved in cell death, during mitosis. These results indicate that survivin may counteract a default induction of apoptosis in G2/M phase. The overexpression of survivin in cancer may overcome this apoptotic checkpoint and favour aberrant progression of transformed cells through mitosis.

Ambrosini G, Adida C, Altieri DC
A novel anti-apoptosis gene, survivin, expressed in cancer and lymphoma.
Nat Med. 1997; 3(8):917-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Inhibitors of programmed cell death (apoptosis) aberrantly prolonging cell viability may contribute to cancer by facilitating the insurgence of mutations and by promoting resistance to therapy. Despite the identification of several new apoptosis inhibitors related to bcl-2 or to the baculovirus IAP gene, it is not clear whether apoptosis inhibition plays a general role in neoplasia. Here, we describe a new human gene encoding a structurally unique IAP apoptosis inhibitor, designated survivin. Survivin contains a single baculovirus IAP repeat and lacks a carboxyl-terminal RING finger. Present during fetal development, survivin is undetectable in terminally differentiated adult tissues. However, survivin becomes prominently expressed in transformed cell lines and in all the most common human cancers of lung, colon, pancreas, prostate and breast, in vivo. Survivin is also found in approximately 50% of high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (centroblastic, immunoblastic), but not in low-grade lymphomas (lymphocytic). Recombinant expression of survivin counteracts apoptosis of B lymphocyte precursors deprived of interleukin 3 (IL-3). These findings suggest that apoptosis inhibition may be a general feature of neoplasia and identify survivin as a potential new target for apoptosis-based therapy in cancer and lymphoma.

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