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Exp Mol Pathol. 2001 Jun;70(3):249-54.

Expression of the apoptosis inhibitor survivin in aggressive squamous cell carcinoma.

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Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Dentistry and Maxillo-facial Surgery, Bari, Italy.


Deregulated expression of inhibitors of apoptosis (programmed cell death) may contribute to cancer by aberrantly extending cell viability and facilitating the insurgence of resistance to therapy. In this study, we investigated the potential expression and prognostic significance of the apoptosis inhibitor survivin in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). A series of 135 cases of SCC including 46 oral SCC and 89 cutaneous SCC was analyzed for survivin expression by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. Survivin was found in 57 cases (64%) of skin SCC and 26 cases (56%) of oral SCC, with weighted survivin scores ranging from 1 to 12. In contrast, normal oral epithelium, normal skin epithelium, and skin annexa did not express survivin. Survivin expression significantly (P < 0.05) segregated with high-grade and undifferentiated tumors with size >1.5 cm and invariably associated with lymph node metastasis. These data suggest that survivin expression may predictively identify cases of SCC with more aggressive and invasive clinical phenotype, potentially warranting closer follow-up protocols.

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