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Cancer Lett. 2012 May 1;318(1):61-7. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2011.12.002. Epub 2011 Dec 8.

Survivin isoform Delta Ex3 regulates tumor spheroid formation.

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Cancer Functional Genomics Laboratory, National Institute of Genomic Medicine, Periferico Sur 4124, Sexto Piso, Torre Zafiro II, Col. Ex Rancho de Anzaldo, Alvaro Obregon, Mexico City, Mexico.


Survivin is an important member of the Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins (IAPs) family and has essential roles in apoptosis and cell cycle progression. This gene is commonly upregulated in human cancer and provides an exciting diagnostic and therapeutic target. Survivin is expressed as several isoforms that are generated by alternative splicing, and some of these present antagonistic activities. Currently, information regarding the regulation of these isoforms is lacking. In this study, we sought to analyze survivin Delta Ex3 expression in a three-dimensional model of avascular tumors and its overexpression effects in processes such as proliferation, clonogenicity and apoptosis. We found a positive correlation between spheroid growth and survivin Delta Ex3 expression during the exponential phase. We demonstrated that this isoform not only decreased apoptosis but also inhibited tumor spheroid formation by decreasing proliferation and clonogenic survival. These results point toward a dual and antagonistic effect of this spliced survivin isoform in cancer development.

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