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, 111, 1-37

Is Survivin the Potential Achilles' Heel of Cancer?


Is Survivin the Potential Achilles' Heel of Cancer?

Alvaro Lladser et al. Adv Cancer Res.


Survivin, the smallest member of the inhibitors of apoptosis proteins (IAPs), plays an important role in the control of apoptosis, cell division, and cell migration/metastasis. Survivin is expressed and required for normal fetal development but is then generally no longer present in most adult tissues. However, reexpression of survivin is observed in numerous human cancers where presence of the protein is associated with enhanced proliferation, metastasis, poor prognosis, and decreased patient survival. Given the relatively selective expression in cancer cells, but not in normal tissue (tumor-associated antigen), and its importance in tumor cell biology, survivin has emerged as an attractive target for cancer treatment. Here, we discuss some aspects of survivin biology by focusing on why the protein appears to be so important for cancer cells and then discuss strategies that harness this dependence to eradicate tumors and situate survivin as a potential Achilles' heel of cancer.

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