Background and objectives: Survivin and Livin are new members from the family of anti-apoptotic factors. Increased levels of Survivin and Livin have been observed in many malignancies and correlated with poor prognosis. Survivin is expressed almost exclusively in proliferating cells, including various kinds of cancers, but Livin expression is relatively rare in cancer cells. Therefore, the present study examines the expressions of Survivin and Livin in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and investigates whether their expression contributes to the prognosis of NPC.
Methods: We investigated the expression of Survivin and Livin in 80 NPC samples using immunohistochemistry stain and correlated it with the survival of these patients using log-rank test and Cox multifactor regression analysis.
Results: All the patients were followed up at least for 60 months. During the following period, 21 cases developed distant metastasis, 9 cases developed local-regional recurrence, and 5 developed both distant metastasis and local-regional recurrence. Among them, 30 patients died of recurrence of tumor. In addition, the expression of Survivin was related with distant metastasis. Patients with low Survivin expression had better overall survival, disease-free survival and distant metastasis-free survival rates than the group with high Survivin expression (P = .0086, .0097, and .0318, respectively). Cox regression analysis confirmed that high Survivin expression was related to worse prognosis in NPC patients. However Livin expression level was not related with the survival of patients with NPC.
Conclusion: NPC expresses high levels of Survivin and Livin, which may play an important role in the oncogenesis and tumor development. Over-expression of Survivin was related with poor prognosis. We suggest that the determination of Survivin expression may provide predictive information on NPC patients.