Caspase-3 and survivin expression in pediatric neuroblastoma and their roles in apoptosis

Chin Med J (Engl). 2004 Dec;117(12):1821-4.


Background: Neuroblastoma, one of the common tumors in children, possesses the feature of natural regression that might be related to apoptosis caspase-3 and survivin are believed to respectively induce and inhibit apoptosis. We investigated the expression of caspase-3 and survivin in pediatric neuroblastoma and the role that these genes played in apoptosis.

Methods: The expression of caspase-3 and survivin in pediatric neuroblastoma tissue samples was detected using in situ hybridization, ter mintuesal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL), and immunohistochemical staining. The role that these genes played in apoptosis was then evaluated.

Results: A converse correlation was observed between the expression of survivin and caspase-3. When survivin was expressed at high levels in neuroblastoma samples, caspase-3 expression was downregulated, and the apoptotic index decreased simultaneously.

Conclusion: There is a converse correlation between the expression of caspase-3 and the expression of survivin in neuroblastoma cells, indicating that caspase-3 might induce apoptosis, and survivin may inhibit this process.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis*
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases / analysis*
  • Caspases / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Male
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / analysis*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / physiology
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Neuroblastoma / chemistry
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology*
  • Survivin


  • BIRC5 protein, human
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Survivin
  • CASP3 protein, human
  • Caspase 3
  • Caspases