Differential expression of survivin splice isoforms in medulloblastomas

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2007 Feb;33(1):67-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2990.2006.00782.x.


Survivin, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family, is implicated in the dysregulation of apoptosis in human cancers. Survivin and survivin-deltaEx3, one of its two alternatively spliced isoforms, confer anti-apoptotic activities in human tumours, while survivin-2B antagonizes such anti-apoptotic properties. The current study was undertaken to examine the mRNA expression of survivin isoforms and their correlation with clinical staging and outcome in 20 medulloblastoma (MB) tumours, three MB cell lines and normal brain tissues (a foetal and an adult cerebellum) by densitometry scanning of 32p-dCTP incorporated reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) products and quantitative real-time PCR. Our results showed that the normal adult brain only expressed low levels of survivin-deltaEx3 mRNA, while the foetal brain expressed all three isoforms, with wild-type survivin as the dominant transcript. All three survivin isoforms were detected in all the MB cell lines and tumours analysed. Immunohistochemical staining also demonstrated survivin protein expressions in all five paraffin-embedded MBs, with predominant nuclear localization. Although overexpressions of survivin were not associated with the presence of metastatic MB or tumour histological subtypes, elevated expressions of survivin-deltaEx3 were significantly associated with progressive/recurrent tumours (P-value = 0.024). Our data demonstrated that overexpression of survivin mRNA is a common feature in MBs, may contribute to their anti-apoptosis properties and clinical behaviours, and predicts a poor clinical outcome, independent of clinical staging or tumour histology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / genetics
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infant
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Isomerism
  • Male
  • Medulloblastoma / genetics
  • Medulloblastoma / metabolism*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Survivin
  • Treatment Outcome


  • BIRC5 protein, human
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Survivin
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases