Targeting survivin and p53 in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Despite advances in treatment and outcomes for patients with pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), there continue to be subsets of patients who are refractory to standard chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Therefore, novel gene targets for therapy are needed to further advance treatment for this disease. RNA interference technology has identified survivin as a potential therapeutic target. Survivin, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins and chromosome passenger complex, is expressed in hematologic malignancies and overexpressed in relapsed pediatric ALL. Our studies show that survivin is uniformly expressed at high levels in multiple pediatric ALL cell lines. Furthermore, silencing of survivin expression in pediatric ALL cell lines as well as primary leukemic blasts reduces viability of these cells. This includes cell lines derived from patients with relapsed disease featuring cytogenetic anomalies such as t(12;21), Philadelphia chromosome t(9;22), t(1;19) as well as a cell line carrying t(17;19) from a patient with de novo ALL. Furthermore, inhibition of survivin increases p53-dependent apoptosis that can be rescued by inhibition of p53. Finally, a screen of randomly selected primary patient samples confirms that survivin-specific small interfering RNA and survivin-targeted drug, YM155, effectively reduce viability of leukemic blasts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-632
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • IAP
  • RNAi
  • targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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