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Int J Oncol. 2011 Sep;39(3):569-75. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2011.1077. Epub 2011 Jun 14.

YM155, a selective survivin suppressant, inhibits tumor spread and prolongs survival in a spontaneous metastatic model of human triple negative breast cancer.

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Drug Discovery Research, Astellas Pharma Inc., 21 Miyukigaoka, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8585, Japan.


Metastatic triple negative breast cancer [TNBC, with negative expression of estrogen and progesterone receptors and no overexpression of HER2/neu (ErbB-2)] remains a major therapeutic challenge because of its poor overall prognosis and lack of optimal targeted therapies. Survivin has been implicated as an important mediator of breast cancer cell growth and dysfunctions in apoptosis, and its expression correlates with a higher incidence of metastases and patient mortality; thus, survivin is an attractive target for novel anti-cancer agents. In previous studies, we identified YM155 as a small molecule that selectively suppresses survivin expression. YM155 inhibits the growth of a wide range of human cancer cell lines. Tumor regression induced by YM155 is associated with decreased intratumoral survivin expression, increased apoptosis and a decreased mitotic index. In the present study, we evaluated the antitumor efficacy of YM155 both in vitro and in vivo using preclinical TNBC models. We found that YM155 suppressed survivin expression, including that of its splice variants (survivin 2B, ╬┤Ex3 and 3B), resulting in decreased cellular proliferation and spontaneous apoptosis of human TNBC cells. In a mouse xenograft model, continuous infusion of YM155 led to the complete regression of subcutaneously established tumors. Furthermore, YM155 reduced spontaneous metastases and significantly prolonged the survival of animals bearing established metastatic tumors in the MDA-MB-231-Luc-D3H2-LN orthotopic model. These results suggest that the survivin-suppressing activity of YM155 may offer a novel therapeutic option for patients with metastatic TNBC.

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