Survivin expression in melanoma is inversely correlated with patient survival. Transgenic mice harboring melanocyte-specific overexpression of survivin exhibit increased susceptibility to UV-induced melanoma and metastatic progression. To understand the mechanistic basis for metastatic progression, we investigated the effects of Survivin on the motility of human melanocytes and melanoma cells. We found that Survivin overexpression enhanced migration on fibronectin and invasion through Matrigel, whereas Survivin knockdown under sub-apoptotic conditions blocked migration and invasion. In melanocytes, Survivin overexpression activated the Akt and MAPK pathways. Akt phosphorylation was required for Survivin-enhanced migration and invasion, whereas Erk phosphorylation was required only for enhanced invasion. In both melanocytes and melanoma cells, Survivin overexpression was associated with upregulation of α5 integrin (fibronectin receptor component), the antibody-mediated blockade or siRNA targeting of which blocked Survivin-enhanced migration. Knockdown of α5 integrin did not affect Akt activation, but inhibition of Akt phosphorylation prevented α5 integrin upregulation elicited by Survivin overexpression. Together, our results showed that Survivin enhanced the migration and invasion of melanocytic cells and suggested that Survivin may promote melanoma metastasis by supporting Akt-dependent upregulation of α5 integrin.
Survivin; migration; invasion; melanoma; α5 integrin
Survivin, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) gene family, plays an important role in both the regulation of cell cycle and the inhibition of apoptosis, and is frequently overexpressed in many tumor types. In neuroblastomas, the expression of survivin correlates with a more aggressive and histologically unfavorable disease. Survivin is predominantly a cytoplasmic protein that is expressed in a cell cycle-dependent manner, increasing in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle followed by a rapid decline in the G1 phase. Recently, the role of survivin in resistance to chemotherapy has become an area of intensive investigation. In this study, we demonstrate a phase-specific resistance due to survivin in staurosporine (STS)-induced apoptosis in the human neuroblastoma cell line SK-N-MC. G2/M-arrested cultures show an upregulation of survivin expression and are more resistant, whereas G1-phase cells that show decreased levels of survivin are more sensitive to apoptosis. Localization studies revealed differences in the distribution of survivin in two synchronized populations, with G1 cells having weakly positive staining confined to the nucleus, in contrast to G2/M cells that depicted a more uniform and intense expression of survivin throughout the cell. In our experimental system, STS induced apoptosis through the mitochondrial-caspase 9-mediated pathway. Retention of survivin in G1 cells by inhibition of the ubiquitin-proteosome pathway or inhibition of caspase 9 protected the cells against apoptosis. Our data suggest that survivin exerts its antiapoptotic effect by inhibiting caspase 9 activity, an important event in STS-mediated apoptosis. In context with cell cycle-dependent responses to chemotherapy, the data from this study suggest the possibility of exploiting the survivin pathway for inducing apoptosis in tumor cells.
Survivin; caspase 9; G2/M; staurosporine; neuroblastoma
Survivin is a member of the inhibitor-of-apoptosis (IAP) family which is widely expressed by many different cancers. Overexpression of survivin is associated with drug resistance in cancer cells, and reduced patient survival after chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Agents that antagonize the function of survivin hold promise for treating many forms of cancer. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a cell-permeable dominant-negative survivin protein would demonstrate bioactivity against prostate and cervical cancer cells grown in three dimensional culture.
A dominant-negative survivin (C84A) protein fused to the cell penetrating peptide poly-arginine (R9) was expressed in E. coli and purified by affinity chromatography. Western blot analysis revealed that dNSurR9-C84A penetrated into 3D-cultured HeLa and DU145 cancer cells, and a cell viability assay revealed it induced cancer cell death. It increased the activities of caspase-9 and caspase-3, and rendered DU145 cells sensitive to TNF-α via by a mechanism involving activation of caspase-8.
The results demonstrate that antagonism of survivin function triggers the apoptosis of prostate and cervical cancer cells grown in 3D culture. It renders cancer cells sensitive to the proapoptotic affects of TNF-α, suggesting that survivin blocks the extrinsic pathway of apoptosis. Combination of the biologically active dNSurR9-C84A protein or other survivin antagonists with TNF-α therapy warrants consideration as an approach to cancer therapy.
The apoptosis inhibitor protein survivin is overexpressed in many tumors, making it a candidate target molecule for various forms of immunotherapy. To explore survivin as a target antigen for adoptive T cell therapy using lymphocytes expressing survivin-specific transgenic T cell receptors (Tg-TCRs), we isolated HLA-A2–allorestricted survivin-specific T cells with high functional avidity. Lymphocytes expressing Tg-TCRs were derived from these T cells and specifically recognized HLA-A2+ survivin+ tumor cells. Surprisingly, HLA-A2+ but not HLA-A2– lymphocytes expressing Tg-TCRs underwent extensive apoptosis over time. This demise was caused by HLA-A2–restricted fratricide that occurred due to survivin expression in lymphocytes, which created ligands for Tg-TCR recognition. Therefore, survivin-specific TCR gene therapy would be limited to application in HLA-A2–mismatched stem cell transplantation. We also noted that lymphocytes that expressed survivin-specific Tg-TCRs killed T cell clones of various specificities derived from HLA-A2+ but not HLA-A2– donors. These results raise a general question regarding the development of cancer vaccines that target proteins that are also expressed in activated lymphocytes, since induction of high-avidity T cells that expand in lymph nodes following vaccination or later accumulate at tumor sites might limit themselves by self-MHC–restricted fratricide while at the same time inadvertently eliminating neighboring T cells of other specificities.
Survivin is overexpressed by 70–80% of pancreatic cancers, and is associated with resistance to chemotherapy and a poor prognosis. Gemcitabine has been a standard treatment for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer for a decade. Recent reports have demonstrated that gemcitabine treatment attenuates the tumor-suppressive environment by eliminating CD11b+/Gr-1+ myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). We hypothesize that a cancer vaccine targeting survivin can achieve enhanced efficacy when combined with gemcitabine. In this study, we tested this hypothesis using modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) expressing full-length murine survivin. The poorly immunogenic mouse pancreas adenocarcinoma cell line, Pan02, which expresses murine survivin and is syngeneic to C57BL/6, was used for this study. Immunization with MVA-survivin resulted in a modest therapeutic antitumor effect on established Pan02 tumors. When administered with gemcitabine, MVA-survivin immunization resulted in significant tumor regression and prolonged survival. The enhanced vaccine efficacy was associated with decreased CD11b+/Gr-1+ MDSCs. To analyze the survivin-specific immune response to MVA-survivin immunization, we utilized a peptide library of 15mers with 11 residues overlapping from full-length murine survivin. Splenocytes from mice immunized with MVA-survivin produced intracellular γ-interferon in response to in vitro stimulation with the overlapping peptide library. Increased survivin-specific CD8+ T cells that specifically recognized the Pan02 tumor line were seen in mice treated with MVA-survivin and gemcitabine. These data suggest that vaccination with MVA-survivin in combination with gemcitabine represents an attractive strategy to overcome tumor-induced peripheral immune tolerance, and this effect has potential for clinical benefit in pancreatic cancer.
Modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA); Survivin Gemcitabine; Pancreatic cancer; Cancer vaccine
Survivin is responsible for cancer progression and drug resistance in many types of cancer. YM155 selectively suppresses the expression of survivin and induces apoptosis in cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. However, the mechanism underlying these effects of YM155 is unknown. Here, we show that a transcription factor, interleukin enhancer-binding factor 3 (ILF3)/NF110, is a direct binding target of YM155. The enhanced survivin promoter activity by overexpression of ILF3/NF110 was attenuated by YM155 in a concentration-dependent manner, suggesting that ILF3/NF110 is the physiological target through which YM155 mediates survivin suppression. The results also show that the unique C-terminal region of ILF3/NF110 is important for promoting survivin expression and for high affinity binding to YM155.
Although increasing evidence supports a link between epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling and resistance to apoptosis, the mechanism by which the EGFR signaling pathway inhibits apoptosis is not well understood. In this study, we found that epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulation increased the level of expression of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein survivin in breast cancer cells but not in normal mammary epithelial cells. We further demonstrated that activation of survivin gene expression is mediated by oxygen-independent hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α up-regulation in EGF-treated cancer cells. EGFR signaling activated the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/AKT pathway, subsequently increasing the level of HIF-1α under normoxic conditions. HIF-1α then activated survivin gene transcription through direct binding to the survivin promoter. Furthermore, we found that overexpression of HIF-1α small interfering RNA blocks EGF-induced survivin gene up-regulation and increases apoptosis induced by the chemotherapy drug docetaxel. However, transfection of a plasmid expressing HIF-1α gene activates survivin gene expression and reduces the apoptotic response. Our results demonstrate a novel pathway for EGFR signaling-mediated apoptosis resistance in human cancer cells. Although the role of HIF-1α in regulating cell survival under hypoxic conditions has been studied extensively, our results show that normoxic breast cancer cells utilize cross-talk between EGFR signals and HIF-1α to up-regulate the anti-apoptotic survivin gene, providing a strong rationale for the targeting of HIF-1α as a therapeutic approach for both hypoxic and normoxic tumor cells. Understanding key molecular events in EGFR signaling-induced apoptosis resistance should provide new information for the development of novel therapeutic agents targeting EGFR, HIF-1α, and/or survivin.
The present study examined the downregulation of survivin expression by hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) miRNA and its effect in the inhibition of A549 cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Survivin expression, apoptosis, proliferation and migration under normoxic and hypoxic conditions were assessed by standard methods. Cotransfection and chromatin immunoprecipitation were used to observe the effects of HIF-1α on survivin transcription. HIF-1α knockdown in A549 cells were injected into nude mice to examine survivin expression and suppression of tumorigenicity. Transfection of A549 cells with HIF-1α miRNA led to decreased expression of HIF-1α and survivin mRNA and protein. Survivin overexpression is mediated by HIF-1α by direct binding to a putative binding site in the survivin core promoter. HIF-1α-miRNA induced apoptosis and inhibited proliferation of A549 cells under hypoxic, but not normoxic, conditions, whereas transfection by survivin expression vectors partly rescued the apoptotic phenotype and revived cell proliferation under hypoxic conditions. However, cell migration was substantially suppressed by HIF-1α silencing under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. After A549 cells were xenografted in nude mice, survivin expression in mice treated with HIF-1α miRNA was downregulated, and tumor growth was significantly inhibited. Silenced HIF-1α gene expression induced apoptosis and suppressed growth of A549 cells by downregulating survivin expression in vitro and in vivo. Our results also provide a basis to target the HIF-1α pathway in lung cancer therapy.
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α; miRNA; survivin; lung cancer
Growing evidence indicates that the antiapoptotic protein survivin is a major factor of drug and radiation resistance in cancer cells. However, application of this finding to therapeutic drug combination is largely unexplored. In this study, breast cancer cells were used for treatment with anticancer compounds alone or in combination. We report that T138067, a better drug against multiple drug resistance (MDR) tumor cells than taxol (Shan et al., PNAS 96:5686–91,1999), induces survivin expression and consequently decreases its effectiveness on the induction of cancer cell death. Treatment of breast cancer cells with T138067 induced survivin expression in these cells while showing no effect on Bcl-2, indicating its specificity. Upregulation of survivin by T138067 was concomitant with an increased drug resistance and associated with an increased phosphorylation of Akt and Erk1/2 MAPK, and a decreased phosphorylation of p38 MAPK without affecting the phosphorylation of ErbB2. Therefore, it is possible that inhibition of T138067-induced survivin expression by alternative approaches may sensitize cells to T138067-induced cell death. We found that treatment of breast cancer cells with SN38, the active metabolite of irinotecan, inhibits survivin expression. Intriguingly, inhibition of survivin expression by SN38 was more effective at a low concentration than at the high concentration, which makes SN38 a good survivin modulator. Furthermore, in contrast with the decreased phosphorylation of p38 MAPK after T138067 treatment, inhibition of survivin expression by SN38 was associated with an increased phosphorylation of the p38 MAPK, suggesting opposing signals converging to survivin. Consistent with these observations, T138067 in combination with SN38 strongly induced cell death in comparison with each drug alone. Similarly, sequential combination of resveratrol, a component of red grapes that inhibits survivin expression, with T138067 also provoked massive breast cancer cell death compared with T138067 alone. Together, these results highlight a new concept that unique signaling cross talk converged to survivin may be considered for rational drug combination in the clinic.
Survivin; T138067; SN38; irinotecan; resveratrol; breast cancer cells
The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)–protein kinase B (PKB) pathway regulates survival and chemotherapy resistance of neuronal cells, and its deregulation in neuroblastoma (NB) tumors predicts an adverse clinical outcome. Here, we show that inhibition of PI3K-PKB signaling in human NB cells induces nuclear translocation of FOXO3/FKHRL1, represses the prosurvival protein BIRC5/Survivin, and sensitizes to DNA-damaging agents. To specifically address whether FKHRL1 contributes to Survivin regulation, we introduced a 4-hydroxy-tamoxifen-regulated FKHRL1(A3)ERtm allele into NB cells. Conditional FKHRL1 activation repressed Survivin transcription and protein expression. Transgenic Survivin exerted a significant antiapoptotic effect and prevented the accumulation of Bim and Bax at mitochondria, the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential as well as the release of cytochrome c during FKHRL1-induced apoptosis. In concordance, Survivin knockdown by retroviral short hairpin RNA technology accelerated FKHRL1-induced apoptosis. Low-dose activation of FKHRL1 sensitized to the DNA-damaging agents doxorubicin and etoposide, whereas the overexpression of Survivin diminished FKHRL1 sensitization to these drugs. These results suggest that repression of Survivin by FKHRL1 facilitates FKHRL1-induced apoptosis and sensitizes to cell death induced by DNA-damaging agents, which supports the central role of PI3K-PKB-FKHRL1 signaling in drug resistance of human NB.
A major goal of tumor immunotherapy is the induction of tumor-specific T cell responses that are effective in eradicating disseminated tumor, as well as mounting a persistent tumor-protective immunity. We demonstrate here that a genetically engineered fusion protein consisting of human/mouse chimeric anti-ganglioside GD2 antibody and human interleukin-2 is able to induce eradication of established B78-D14 melanoma metastases in immunocompetent syngeneic C57BL/6J mice. This therapeutic effect is mediated by host immune cells, particularly CD8+ T cells and is associated with the induction of a long-lived immunity preventing tumor growth in the majority of animals when challenged up to four months later with B78-D14 cells. This effect was tumor-specific, since no cross-protection against syngeneic, ganglioside GD2+ EL-4 thymoma cells was observed. Furthermore, this tumor-specific protection can be transmitted horizontally to naive, syngeneic SCID mice by passive transfer of CD8+ T lymphocytes derived from immune animals. These results suggest that antibody-targeted delivery of cytokines provides a means to elicit effective immune responses against established tumors in the immunotherapy of neoplastic disease.
Chondrosarcoma is virtually resistant to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Survivin, the smallest member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family, is a critical factor for tumor progression and resistance to conventional therapeutic approaches in a wide range of malignancies. However, the role of survivin in chondrosarcoma has not been well studied. We examined the importance of survivin gene expression in chondrosarcoma and analysed its influences on proliferation, apoptosis and resistance to chemotherapy in vitro.
Resected chondrosarcoma specimens from which paraffin-embedded tissues could be extracted were available from 12 patients. In vitro experiments were performed in human chondrosarcoma cell lines SW1353 and Hs819.T. Immunohistochemistry, immunoblot, quantitative PCR, RNA interference, gene-overexpression and analyses of cell proliferation and apoptosis were performed.
Expression of survivin protein was detected in all chondrosarcoma specimens analyzed, while undetectable in adult human cartilage. RNA interference targeting survivin resulted in a G2/M-arrest of the cell cycle and led to increased rates of apoptosis in chondrosarcoma cells in vitro. Overexpression of survivin resulted in pronounced resistance to doxorubicin treatment.
These findings indicate that survivin plays a role in the pathogenesis and pronounced chemoresistance of high grade chondrosarcoma. Survivin antagonizing therapeutic strategies may lead to new treatment options in unresectable and metastasized chondrosarcoma.
We previously demonstrated that the anti-apoptosis protein, survivin, plays a protective role against alcohol-induced gastric injury. Since the endothelium is a primary target of alcohol-induced gastric damage, we investigated whether survivin expression is a key factor in the greater susceptibility of gastric endothelial vs. epithelial cells to alcohol-induced injury. Here, we demonstrate that rat gastric epithelial cells (RGM1 cells, an epithelial cell line derived from normal rat gastric mucosa) expressed 7.5-fold greater survivin protein levels vs. rat gastric endothelial cells. Survivin expression correlated with resistance of gastric epithelial vs. endothelial cells to both alcohol-induced cell damage and alcohol-induced apoptosis. Suppression of survivin protein expression levels using siRNA rendered the gastric epithelial cells as susceptible to both alcohol-induced cell damage and apoptosis as the gastric endothelial cells. Conversely, forced overexpression of survivin by transient transfection rendered gastric endothelial cells as resistant to both alcohol-induced cell damage and apoptosis as mock-transfected gastric epithelial cells. Moreover, overexpression of a threonine-34 to glutamate phosphorylation mimic mutant survivin construct rendered gastric endothelial cells significantly more resistant to alcohol-induced damage and apoptosis vs. mock-transfected gastric epithelial cells. These findings indicate that disparate survivin expression levels can explain the discrepancy between gastric epithelial and endothelial cell susceptibility to alcohol-induced injury; and, that a negative charge at amino acid residue 34 on survivin, such as that which naturally occurs by phosphorylation of threonine-34, enhances its property in conferring gastric mucosal protection.
Apoptosis; Cell death; In vitro Mutagenesis; Overexpression; Phosphorylation mimic; si RNA Knockdown; Transfection
Survivin, an anti-apoptotic protein, can be induced by hypoxia and contributes to angiogenic activity in endothelial cells. To determine the potential mechanism of survivin in endothelial dysfunction caused by hyperglycemia in diabetes, we evaluated the role of survivin in hyperglycemia and its effect on endothelial homeostasis. We demonstrated that an increase of D-glucose was sufficient to down-regulate survivin expression, impacting survivin’s angiogenic role in endothelial cells. We additionally showed that survivin expression was increased in response to hypoxia yet this reaction was mitigated when the endothelial cells were in hyperglycemic conditions prior to hypoxia. Hyperglycemia also affected survivin-related proliferation and migration of endothelial cells and increased the number of apoptotic cells. In the ischemic porcine myocardium, the expression of survivin was induced. Moreover, survivin expression in the aorta, myocardium, and isolated endothelial cells was attenuated in a porcine model of diabetes in comparison to non-diabetes, which correlated negatively with the levels of fasting blood sugars and positively with territory perfusion. These results demonstrate that hyperglycemia critically alters survivin expression in vitro and in vivo, which leads to attenuation of angiogenic activity and impacts endothelial metabolism.
Survivin; Angiogenesis; Apoptosis; Hyperglycemia
The overexpression of antiapoptotic genes, such as Bcl-xL and survivin, contributes to the increased survival of tumor cells and to the development of treatment resistances. In the bladder cancer cell lines EJ28 and J82, the siRNA-mediated knockdown of survivin reduces cell proliferation and the inhibition of Bcl-xL sensitizes these cells towards subsequent chemotherapy with mitomycin C and cisplatin. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze if the simultaneous knockdown of Bcl-xL and survivin might represent a more powerful treatment option for bladder cancer than the single inhibition of one of these target genes. At 96 h after transfection, reduction in cell viability was stronger after simultaneous inhibition of Bcl-xL and survivin (decrease of 40%–48%) in comparison to the single target treatments (decrease of 29% at best). Furthermore, simultaneous knockdown of Bcl-xL and survivin considerably increased the efficacy of subsequent chemotherapy. For example, cellular viability of EJ28 cells decreased to 6% in consequence of Bcl-xL and survivin inhibition plus cisplatin treatment whereas single target siRNA plus chemotherapy treatments mediated reductions down to 15%–36% only. In conclusion, the combination of simultaneous siRNA-mediated knockdown of antiapoptotic Bcl-xL and survivin—a multitarget molecular-based therapy—and conventional chemotherapy shows great potential for improving bladder cancer treatment.
apoptosis; BCL2L1; Bcl-xL; bladder cancer; BIRC5; chemotherapy; combination therapy; RNA interference; siRNA; survivin
Survivin (BIRC5), a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family that inhibits caspases and blocks cell death is highly expressed in cancer and is associated with a poorer clinical outcome. Functioning simultaneously during cell division and apoptosis inhibition, survivin plays a pivotal role in determining cell survival. Survivin has consistently been identified by molecular profiling analysis to be associated with higher tumor grade, more advanced disease, abbreviated survival, accelerated rates of recurrence, and chemotherapy and radiation resistance. Survivin's differential expression in cancer compared to normal tissue and its role as a nodal protein in a number of cellular pathways make it a highly flexible therapeutic target, suitable for small-molecule inhibitiors, molecular antagonists, and vaccination-based therapies. By targeting survivin it is hoped that multiple tumor signaling circuitries may be simultaneously disabled. This effect may be applicable to many tumor histologies irrespective of specific genetic makeup. To date, survivin inhibitors have shown modest activity as single agents, but it is anticipated that when given in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy or monoclonal antibodies they may exhibit enhanced efficacy. This review discusses the complex circuitry of survivin in human cancers and highlights clinical trials involving novel agents that target this important protein.
Survivin is a dual function protein. It inhibits the apoptosis of cells by inhibiting caspases, and also promotes cell growth by stabilizing microtubules during mitosis. Over-expression of survivin has been demonstrated to induce drug-resistance to various chemo-therapeutic agents such as cisplatin (DNA damaging agent) and paclitaxel (microtubule stabilizer) in cancers. However, survivin-induced resistance to microtubule de-stabilizers such as Vinca alkaloids and Combretastatin A-4 (CA-4)-related compounds were seldom demonstrated in the past. Furthermore, the question remains as to whether survivin plays a dominant role in processing cytokinesis or inhibiting caspases activity in cells treated with anti-mitotic compounds. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of survivin on the resistance and susceptibility of human cancer cells to microtubule de-stabilizer-induced cell death.
BPR0L075 is a CA-4 analog that induces microtubule de-polymerization and subsequent caspase-dependent apoptosis. To study the relationship between the expression of survivin and the resistance to microtubule de-stabilizers, a KB-derived BPR0L075-resistant cancer cell line, KB-L30, was generated for this study. Here, we found that survivin was over-expressed in the KB-L30 cells. Down-regulation of survivin by siRNA induced hyper-sensitivity to BPR0L075 in KB cells and partially re-stored sensitivity to BPR0L075 in KB-L30 cells. Western blot analysis revealed that down-regulation of survivin induced microtubule de-stabilization in both KB and KB-L30 cells. However, the same treatment did not enhance the down-stream caspase-3/-7 activities in BPR0L075-treated KB cells. Translocation of a caspase-independent apoptosis-related molecule, apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF), from cytoplasm to the nucleus was observed in survivin-targeted KB cells under BPR0L075 treatment.
In this study, survivin plays an important role in the stability of microtubules, but not with caspases inhibition. Over-expression of survivin counteracts the therapeutic effect of microtubule de-stabilizer BPR0L075 probably by stabilizing tubulin polymers, instead of the inhibition of caspase activity in cancer cells. Besides microtubule-related caspase-dependent cell death, caspase-independent mitotic cell death could be initiated in survivin/BPR0L075 combination treatments. We suggest that combining microtubule de-stabilizers with a survivin inhibitor may attribute to a better clinical outcome than the use of anti-mitotic monotherapy in clinical situations.
Activation of the orphan nuclear receptor TR3/Nur77 (NR4A1) promotes apoptosis and inhibits pancreatic tumor growth, but its endogenous function and the effects of its inactivation have yet to be determined. TR3 was overexpressed in human pancreatic tumors compared to non-tumor tissue. siRNA-mediated knockdown of TR3 or cell treatment with the TR3 antagonist 1, 1-bis(3′-indolyl)-1-(p-hydroxyphenyl)methane (DIM-C-pPhOH) decreased proliferation, induced apoptosis, and decreased expression of anti-apoptotic genes including Bcl-2 and survivin in pancreatic cancer cells. Survivin suppression was mediated by formation of a TR3-Sp1-p300 DNA binding complex on the proximal GC-rich region of the survivin promoter. When administered in vivo DIM-C-pPhOH induced apoptosis and inhibited tumor growth in an orthotopic model of pancreatic cancer, associated with inhibition of the same anti-apoptotic markers observed in vitro. Our results offer preclinical validation of TR3 as a drug target for pancreatic cancer chemotherapy, based on the ability of TR3 inhibitors to block the growth of pancreatic tumors.
TR3; Nur77; drug target; pancreatic cancer
Relapse after chemotherapy is inevitable in the majority of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Thus, it is necessary to develop novel therapies that have different antileukemic mechanisms. Recent advances in immunology and identification of promising leukemia-associated antigens open the possibilities for eradicating minimal residual diseases by antigen-specific immunotherapy after chemotherapy. Several methods have been pursued as immunotherapies for AML: peptide vaccines, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor-secreting tumor vaccines, dendritic cell vaccines, and adoptive T cell therapy. Whereas immunogenicity and clinical outcomes are improving in these trials, severe adverse events were observed in highly avid engineered T cell therapies, indicating the importance of the balance between effectiveness and side effects in advanced immunotherapy. Such progress in inducing antitumor immune responses, together with strategies to attenuate immunosuppressive factors, will establish immunotherapy as an important armament to combat AML.
Although both the antiapoptotic function of survivin and vitamin D3 (VD3)-mediated cell growth inhibition and apoptosis have been extensively studied, it is not known whether survivin plays a role in VD3 compound-mediated cell growth inhibition and apoptosis induction. Using an isogenic model of MCF-7 breast adenocarcinoma cells (MCF-7E and MCF-7L sublines that are sensitive and resistant to VD3 compounds), we found that VD3 compounds effectively downregulated survivin in VD3-sensitive MCF-7E cells, which was associated with VD3-induced apoptosis. In contrast, VD3 compounds failed to downregulate survivin in VD3-resistant MCF-7L cells, which showed resistant to VD3-induced apoptosis. However, inhibition of survivin expression by small interfering RNA (siRNA) induced cell death per se and further sensitized VD3-induced apoptosis in MCF-7L cells, indicating that the inability of these cells to respond to VD3 is due to the failure to downregulate survivin. Forced expression of survivin not only blocked VD3-mediated G1 cell accumulation but also increased S and G2/M cell populations. VD3 treatment rapidly triggered the activation of p38 MAPK signaling in MCF-7E cells but not in MCF- 7L cells. Moreover, inhibition of p38 activation diminished VD3-mediated survivin inhibition and partially rescued VD3-induced cell death. We further showed that VD3 increased the expression of TGFβ1 and TGFβ receptor 2, and that blocking the function of TGFβ receptor 2 diminished VD3 compound-mediated survivin downregulation. Thus, we propose that the VD3 compound-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis induction are at least partially dependent on survivin downregulation via VD3-induced TGFβ signaling and the activation of p38 MAPK pathway. Targeting survivin through these pathways may lead to novel applications for cancer therapeutics.
vitamin D3; survivin; apoptosis; p38 MAPK; MCF-7 breast cancer cell
Survivin is a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis gene family, which is also implicated in mitosis regulation. Most reports in the literature impute poor prognosis to neoplasms with overexpression of this protein. The purpose of the present study is to validate and compare the immunohistochemical reactivity of malignant lymphomas and reactive lymphoid tissue using a new mouse monoclonal antibody to Survivin produced in our laboratory, 6-78. Survivin was detected by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays. It was shown that the antibody anti-Survivin 6-78 reliably stains formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded reactive and neoplastic lymphoid tissues, mostly in a nuclear pattern. We confirmed using this novel antibody that Survivin immunostaining has a tendency to be lower in reactive lymphoid tissues and low-grade B cell lymphomas than in aggressive lymphomas. This antibody may represent a useful tool for standardizing the study of the immunoexpression of Survivin in neoplasms.
Malignant lymphomas; Survivin; Mouse monoclonal antibody 6-78; Immunohistochemistry
The tumour microenvironment is believed to be involved in development, growth, metastasis, and therapy resistance of many cancers. Here we show survivin, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family, implicated in apoptosis inhibition and the regulation of mitosis in cancer cells, exists in a novel extracellular pool in tumour cells. Furthermore, we have constructed stable cell lines that provide the extracellular pool with either wild-type survivin (Surv-WT) or the previously described dominant-negative mutant survivin (Surv-T34A), which has proven pro-apoptotic effects in cancer cells but not in normal proliferating cells. Cancer cells grown in conditioned medium (CM) taken from Surv-WT cells absorbed survivin and experienced enhanced protection against genotoxic stresses. These cells also exhibited an increased replicative and metastatic potential, suggesting that survivin in the tumour microenvironment may be directly associated with malignant progression, further supporting survivin's function in tumourigenesis. Alternatively, cancer cells grown in CM taken from the Surv-T34A cells began to apoptose through a caspase-2- and caspase-9-dependent pathway that was further enhanced by the addition of other chemo- and radiotherapeutic modalities. Together our findings suggest a novel microenvironmental function for survivin in the control of cancer aggressiveness and spread, and should result in the genesis of additional cancer treatment modalities.
tumour microenvironment; survivin; apoptosis; metastasis
Malignant gliomas remain refractory to treatment despite advances in chemotherapy and surgical techniques. Viral vectors developed to treat gliomas have had low transduction capabilities, limiting their use. Gliomas over-express CD46, CD80, and CD86, all of which bind adenovirus serotype 3.
To increase the infectivity and replication of oncolytic vectors in malignant brain tumors, we created a conditionally replicating adenovirus, CRAd-Survivin-5/3, which contains a survivin promoter-driving E1A and a chimeric fiber consisting of adenovirus serotype 3 knob.
In vitro, this modified CRAd showed ten- to 100-fold increased cytotoxicity against glioma cells. Ex vivo analysis of primary glioblastoma multiforme samples infected with CRAd-Survivin-5/3 showed an increase in cytotoxicity of 20–30% compared to adenovirus wild-type (AdWT). Innormal human astrocytes and normal brain tissues, CRAd-Survivin-5/3 exhibited 30–40% and 10–15% lower cytotoxicity than AdWT, respectively. In an intracranial xenograft model of glioma, this oncolytic virus increased tumor-free survival and overall lifespan by 50% compared to controls (p < 0.05).
CRAd-Survivin-5/3 represents an attractive alternative to existing vectors and should be tested further in the pre-clinical setting.
adenovirus; brain tumor; glioma; survivin; virotherapy
Survivin is an oncogenic protein involved in cell division and acts as an anti-apoptotic factor. It is highly expressed in most cancers and is associated with chemotherapy resistance, increased tumour recurrence, and shorter patient survival. This makes anti-survivin therapy an attractive cancer treatment strategy. These functions are mediated by several survivin spliced variants, whose expression may correlate with cancer progression. One of the spliced variants, survivin-ΔEx3, is known to inhibit apoptosis, through undefined mechanisms. Here, we characterised these mechanisms upon TNFα−mediated apoptosis, and showed that survivin-ΔEx3 acts as an adaptor, allowing the formation of a complex between Bcl-2 and activated caspase-3. The Bcl-2/survivin-ΔEx3 complex, but not survivin-ΔEx3 itself, inhibits the activity of caspase-3. Bcl-2 is therefore linked to the postmitochondrial apoptotic machinery by survivin-ΔEx3. Thus, survivin-ΔEx3 plays a key role in the inhibition of caspase-3 activity, and in the control of the mitochondrial checkpoint of apoptosis. This study suggests that targeting survivin-ΔEx3, rather than survivin alone, could be relevant for treating human cancers.
apoptosis; Bcl-2; caspase-3; survivin-ΔEx3
TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) has been proposed as a promising cancer therapy that preferentially induces apoptosis in cancer cells, but not most normal tissues. However, many cancers are resistant to TRAIL by mechanisms that are poorly understood. In this study, we showed that tunicamycin, a naturally occurring antibiotic, was a potent enhancer of TRAIL-induced apoptosis through downregulation of survivin. The tunicamycin-mediated sensitization to TRAIL was efficiently reduced by forced expression of survivin, suggesting that the sensitization was mediated at least in part through inhibition of survivin expression. Tunicamycin also repressed expression of cyclin D1, a cell cycle regulator commonly overexpressed in thyroid carcinoma. Furthermore, silencing cyclin D1 by RNA interference reduced survivin expression and sensitized thyroid cancer cells to TRAIL; in contrast, forced expression of cyclin D1 attenuated tunicamycin-potentiated TRAIL-induced apoptosis via over-riding downregulation of survivin. Collectively, our results demonstrated that tunicamycin promoted TRAIL-induced apoptosis, at least in part, by inhibiting the expression of cyclin D1 and subsequent survivin. Of note, tunicamycin did not sensitize the differentiated thyroid epithelial cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Thus, combined treatment with tunicamycin and TRAIL may offer an attractive strategy for safely treating resistant thyroid cancers.
apoptosis; BIRC5 protein, human; cyclin D1; thyroid neoplasms; TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand; tunicamycin