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Gut. 2000 May;46(5):645-50.

Expression of the antiapoptosis gene, survivin, predicts death from recurrent colorectal carcinoma.

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  • 1Professorial Surgical Unit, University of Leeds, St James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK.



Inhibition of programmed cell death (apoptosis) is associated with increased tumour aggressiveness, and expression of Survivin, an antiapoptosis gene, in colorectal carcinomas may provide important prognostic information.


Expression of Survivin messenger RNA was evaluated by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in 144 colorectal carcinomas and 86 adjacent histologically normal mucosa samples from patients for whom long term follow up data were available.


Survivin transcripts were detected in a significantly greater proportion of carcinomas (63.5%) than normal mucosa samples (29.1%; p<0.001). The prevalence of Survivin expression was independent of advancing pathological stage. Death due to recurrent cancer following curative resection was predicted independently by tumour expression of Survivin (hazard ratio (HR) 2.60; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1. 17-5.75) and lymph node metastases (HR 2.38; 95% CI 1.21-4.70). On stage wise analysis, the predictive value of Survivin expression was limited to patients with stage II colorectal carcinomas; those with Survivin negative tumours had a five year survival rate of 94.4% compared with 44.8% for patients with Survivin positive tumours (p=0. 004, log rank test).


In patients with stage II colorectal carcinomas, Survivin expression provides prognostic information that may have important therapeutic implications.

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