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The aim of our study was to investigate the level and the prognostic value of the expression of different survivin transcript variants - survivin, survivin-ΔEx3 and survivin-2B - in tumours of 76 soft tissue sarcoma (STS) patients. The expression of survivin transcript variants in STS tissue samples and in 12 non malignant control tissues was analyzed by quantitative RT-PCRs. Expression levels of all survivin transcript variants were strongly elevated in STS compared to normal tissues. A positive correlation between expression of splice variants and tumour stage was found (P≤0.02; chi-square-test). The multivariate Cox’s proportional hazards regression model revealed a 7.3-fold increased risk of tumour-related death for patients with survivin-ΔEx3 overexpressing tumors (p=0.007). The effect of surivivin (wildtype variant) and survivin-2B was less pronounced but still significant (2.2-fold and 1.9-fold, resp., p<0.05 each). Our results show for the first time that mRNA expression of survivin-variants is significantly correlated to a poor prognosis for STS patients and we suggest expression of survivin splice variants together with tumour stage as independent predictor of survival.

[Proc Amer Assoc Cancer Res, Volume 46, 2005]