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Br J Cancer. 2002 Mar 4;86(5):737-43.

Expression of different survivin variants in gastric carcinomas: first clues to a role of survivin-2B in tumour progression.

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Institute of Pathology, Heinrich Heine-University, Moorenstr 5, D-40225, Duesseldorf, Germany.


Survivin is a novel member of the inhibitor of apoptosis family and determines the susceptibility of tumour cells to pro-apoptotic stimuli. Recently, we identified two novel alternative splice variants of survivin, differing in their anti-apoptotic properties: whereas the anti-apoptotic potential of survivin-DeltaEx3 is preserved, survivin-2B has lost its anti-apoptotic potential and may act as a naturally occurring antagonist of survivin. Because the in vivo expression of these alternative splice variants has not been explored so far, we analysed gastric carcinomas of different histological subtypes, grades and stages. Since no antibodies are currently available to determine the novel splice variants, quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction was performed, using RNA samples obtained from 30 different gastric carcinomas. Polymerase chain reactions products were quantified by densitometric evaluation. We found that all gastric carcinomas, irrespective of their histological types, grades or stages, express survivin-DeltaEx3, survivin-2B and survivin, the latter being the dominant transcript. Comparing the disease stages I+II with III+IV, expression of survivin and survivin-DeltaEx3 remained unchanged. In contrast, a significant (P=0.033) stage-dependent decrease in the expression of survivin-2B became evident. Our study demonstrates for the first time the expression of alternative splice variants in gastric carcinomas and provides a first clue to a role of survivin-2B in tumour progression.

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