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World J Gastroenterol. 2005 Jul 7;11(25):3855-9.

Expression and significance of new inhibitor of apoptosis protein survivin in hepatocellular carcinoma.

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  • 1Hepatic Surgery Center, Tongji Hospital Affiliated to Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1095 Jiefang Dadao, Wuhan 430030, Hubei Province, China.



To investigate expression and significance of inhibitor of apoptosis protein survivin in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


The expression of survivin and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was investigated in 38 cases of HCC tissues and 38 liver cirrhosis tissues by immunohistochemistry and Western blot. The relationship between the expression of survivin and clinicopathological factors of HCC was analyzed.


Survivin protein was detected in 23 (60.5%) of 38 HCCs and 3 (7.9%) of 38 liver cirrhosis tissues. In 23 cases of HCC which expressed survivin, the expression of VEGF was positive in 18 cases and slight positive or negative in 5 cases. While in 15 cases of HCC which did not express survivin, 12 cases did not express or slightly expressed, and 3 cases expressed VEGF. In liver cirrhosis tissues, the expression of VEGF was as follows: 24 cases were negative, 10 cases were weak positive and 4 cases were strong positive. The expression of survivin was coincident with the expression of VEGF in HCC (P<0.01). The expression of survivin in HCC had no relationship with the patients' age, gender, tumor size and differentiation level of HCC, while it was related to the metastasis of HCC. The protein quantitative analysis by Western blot also showed that overexpression of survivin in HCC was closely correlated to the expression of VEGF (P<0.01). Furthermore, stronger expression of survivin and VEGF was also found in patients with metastasis rather than in those with no metastasis (P<0.01).


Survivin plays a pivotal role in the metastasis of HCC, and it has some correlation with tumorigenesis. The expression of survivin in the primary lesion is very useful as an indicator for metastasis and prognosis of HCC. It could become a new target of gene therapy of HCC.

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