Relationship between anti-apoptotic proteins survivin and Bcl-2, and response to treatment in patients undergoing post-operative RT for laryngeal cancer: a pilot study


Correspondence: Gino Marioni, MD, Department of Neurosciences, Otolaryngology Section, Via Giustiniani 2, 35128 Padova, Italy. Tel: +49 049 8212029, Fax: +39 049 8213113, E-mail:



Clinicopathological research has focused on identifying molecular and biological prognostic factors for laryngeal carcinoma (LSCC) treated with post-operative radiotherapy (RT). The aim of this study was to assess the prognostic importance of anti-apoptotic proteins survivin and B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) in a series of patients with LSCC who had primary surgery followed by RT.


Thirty-three consecutive patients who underwent primary surgery followed by RT were considered. Survivin nuclear and cytoplasmic expressions and Bcl-2 expression were determined immunohistochemically.


The loco-regional recurrence rate was significantly higher among LSCC patients with a nuclear survivin expression >10.0% (= 0.029), and their disease-free survival (DFS) was shorter than in cases whose nuclear survivin expression was ≤10.0% (= 0.002). DFS was significantly shorter in cases with a Bcl-2 expression >2.0% than in those whose Bcl-2 expression was ≤2.0% (= 0.035).


Nuclear survivin expression and Bcl-2 expression warrant further investigation as potential predictive biomarkers to enable individualized treatments (e.g. post-operative chemo-radiotherapy instead of RT alone for patients whose LSCCs strongly express nuclear survivin or/and Bcl-2). This preliminary evidence justifies the design of new studies on the association of agents targeting survivin and Bcl-2 with conventional chemotherapeutic agents and RT for advanced LSCC.