• cancer;
  • pathology;
  • stem cell;
  • survivin;
  • therapy

Abstract:  Survivin is a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) protein family acting at the intersection between proliferation and cell survival. This protein exhibits low or undetectable expression in most adult tissues but is increased in the majority of cancers. Suggested to be one of the most cancer-specific proteins identified to date, survivin acts as a signalling node in tumour maintenance and, after first promising results, is now attracting increasing attention as a target in anti-cancer therapy. In the skin, survivin has been implicated in a number of pathological conditions such as psoriasis and tumours of melanocytic and epithelial origin. Its expression can correlate with tumour severity, metastasis and decreased patient survival and has been inversely correlated with the sensitivity to cytotoxic agents used in anti-cancer therapy. Survivin may also be of importance for normal epidermal homeostasis possibly supporting self-renewal of epidermal stem cells. In this review, the authors summarize and discuss current data of survivin in skin biology and provide a comprehensive compilation of survivin expression in skin pathologies with focus on future therapeutical use.