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Ann Surg Oncol. 2001 May;8(4):305-10.

Immunohistochemical detection of the anti-apoptosis protein, survivin, predicts survival after curative resection of stage II colorectal carcinomas.

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Professional Surgical Unit, University of Leeds, St James's University Hospital, England.



This study examined the role of Survivin protein, a novel inhibitor of apoptosis, in determining prognosis after curative resection of stage II colorectal carcinomas.


Expression of Survivin, P53, and BCL-2 was evaluated immunohistochemically in stage II colorectal carcinomas from 49 patients who were followed for up to 9 years after operation. The Cox proportional hazards regression model was used to examine the predictive value of several covariates.


The patients comprised 33 men and 16 women with a median age of 71 years. There were 32 colonic and 17 rectal cancers comprising 40 T3 and nine T4 primary tumors. Survivin was expressed in 30 (61.2%), P53 in 30 (61.2%), and BCL-2 in 21 (42.9%) tumors. Expression of Survivin was independent of P53 or BCL-2 expression and histopathological characteristics of the tumor. The 5-year survival rate of patients with Survivin-positive tumors was significantly lower than that of patients with Survivin-negative tumors (52.5% vs. 94.1%, respectively; P = .01). On multivariate analysis, expression of Survivin (Hazard Ratio [HR] = 9; P = .03), and rectal origin of cancer (HR = 3; P = .05) were the only factors which independently predicted an increased risk of death from recurrent cancer.


Survivin expression within the tumor can identify patients with stage II colorectal carcinoma who are at increased risk of death from recurrent disease and might particularly benefit from adjuvant therapy.

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