• Open Access

Survivin as a target for new anticancer interventions


*Correspondence ato: Naida ZAFFARONI, PhD, Dipartimento di Oncologia Sprementale Unità Operative 10 Istituto Nazonale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori Via Venezia 1, 20133 Milano, Italy. Tel.: +39 02 2390 3260; Fax.: + 39 02 2390 3052 E-mail: nadia.zaffaroni@istitutotumori.mi.it


Survivin is a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family, that has been implicated in both control of cell division and inhibition of apoptosis. Specifically, its anti-apoptosis function seems to be related to the ability to directly or indirectly inhibit caspases. Survivin is selectively expressed in the most common human neoplasms and appears to be involved in tumour cell resistance to some anticancer agents and ionizing radiation. On the basis of these findings survivin has been proposed and and attractive target for new anticancer interventions. Several preclinical studies have demonstrated that down-regulation of survivin expression/function, accomplished through the use of antisense oligonucleotides, dominant negative mutants, ribozymes, small interfering RNAs and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, increased the apoptotic rate, reduced tumor-growth potential and sensitized tumor cells to chemotherapeutic drugs with different action mechanisms and γ-irradiation in in vitro and in vivo models of different human tumor types.