Survivin expression is associated with features of biologically aggressive prostate carcinoma

Cancer. 2004 Feb 15;100(4):751-7. doi: 10.1002/cncr.20039.


Background: Survivin counteracts cell death and controls mitotic progression. The objectives of the current study were to compare the expression patterns of survivin in normal prostate, primary prostate carcinoma, and lymph node tissues involved with prostate carcinoma and to determine whether the expression of survivin is associated with prostate carcinoma characteristics and progression.

Methods: Immunohistochemical staining for survivin and for transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1) and its receptors (types I and II; TGF-betaR1 and TGF-betaR2, respectively) was carried out on archival specimens from 114 consecutive patients who underwent radical prostatectomy (median follow-up, 64.8 months). Punch biopsies of the index carcinoma and normal tissue from each specimen were sectioned onto a single slide and stained. The authors also evaluated the expression of survivin in normal and malignant lymph node tissue from eight patients.

Results: Survivin was expressed in 41 of 114 normal prostate specimens (36%) from prostates that contained carcinoma, in 81 of 114 primary prostate carcinoma specimens (71%), in 3 of 8 normal lymphoid specimens (38%), and in 7 of 8 prostate carcinoma lymphoid specimens (88%). Survivin expression was associated with higher final Gleason sum (P = 0.001), loss of TGF-betaR1 and TGF-betaR2 expression (P = 0.041 and P = 0.008, respectively), and an increased risk of biochemical progression on univariate analysis (P = 0.0441). Among patients who had disease progression, survivin was expressed more commonly in those who had tumors with features of aggressive behavior.

Conclusions: The expression of survivin gradually increased from normal prostate tissue, to low-grade primary carcinoma, to high-grade primary carcinoma and was highest in lymph node metastases. Survivin expression was associated further with alteration of the TGF-beta pathway and with overall and aggressive biochemical progression after radical prostatectomy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / analysis
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Survivin
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / analysis
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / biosynthesis
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1


  • BIRC5 protein, human
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Survivin
  • TGFB1 protein, human
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1