Survivin, a new member of the inhibitor-of-apoptosis (IAP) family, has been reported to be expressed in many cancers but not in differentiated normal tissue. Its expression in esophageal cancer, however, has not been reported. We investigated 51 esophageal cancers and their adjacent normal epithelial tissues for mRNA expression of survivin by RT-PCR. The survivin expression in esophageal cancer tissue was significantly higher than that in normal esophageal tissue (0.211 +/- 0.226 vs. 0.057 +/- 0.135, p < 0.0001). pN4 tumors had significantly higher survivin expression than the pN0-3 tumors (p = 0.0093). Fourteen patients with advanced esophageal cancer had received chemotherapy prior to surgery. The survivin expression in the cancer tissue in patients who achieved a partial response (PR) was significantly lower than that in patients with no change (NC) and in patients with progressive disease (PD; 0.099 +/- 0.134 vs. 0.320 +/- 0.222, p = 0.0434). The median survival for patients with high survivin expression (9.0 months) was less than that for patients with low survivin group expression (30.0 months, p = 0.0023). Survivin expression was one of the significant predictors of survival on univariate analysis (hazard ratio 2.471; 95% confidence interval 1.104-5.533). The results suggest that survivin expression may provide prognostic information in patients with esophageal cancer.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.