Insights into the Regulation of Survivin Expression in Tumors

Jiri Vachtenheim and Katerina Vlckova

Survivin, an anti-apoptotic protein was found to be expressed in tumors, whereas in normal tissues the expression of this protein was shown to be absent or extremely low. Survivin exhibits multifunctional activity in tumor cells. Survivin is the smallest member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family and was demonstrated to have key roles in regulating cell division and inhibiting apoptosis. The cancer protein survivin was shown to be associated with tumor cell progression, invasiveness, resistance to therapeutics and poor prognosis. Its level in tumors is associated with deregulation of several oncogenic pathways. In this review, a delineation of survivin expression and progress in understanding the survivin transcriptional regulation with the emphasis of augmented apoptosis in cancer and its link to the Hedgehog pathway and cancer stem cells is discussed.