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The Effect of Survivin Perturbation On the Radiation Response of Breast Cancer Cell Lines

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D Smith

D Smith*, B Debeb , W Woodward , Department of Radiation Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX


SU-E-T-320 Sunday 3:00PM - 6:00PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: Survivin is the smallest member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family and is well-known for its universal over-expression in human cancers. Due to its role in apoptosis and cellular proliferation, survivin is implicated in the radiation response in several cancer types, and anti-survivin treatments have had success as a radiation sensitizer in many preclinical cancer models. As no studies to date have reported survivin as a factor affecting radiation resistance in breast cancer models, we sought to evaluate the synergistic relationship between survivin function and irradiation in breast cancer cell lines.

Methods: Information regarding survivin protein expression in breast cancer was retrieved from three public databases: Oncomine, Kaplan-Meier Plotter, and GOBO. For the in vitro studies, survivin function was compromised by transducing a non-functional mutant form (survivin-DN) into two breast cancer cell lines, the estrogen receptor-positive MCF7 and the triple-negative, inflammatory SUM149. Cell growth was compared in the survivin-DN and control populations with colony-formation assays. To assess how survivin affects radiation response, clonogenic assays were performed by irradiating the cell lines up to 6 Gy.

Results: From the public databases, survivin is more highly expressed in triple-negative breast cancer compared to all other subtypes, and is prognostic of poor survival in all breast cancer patients. In MCF7, the survivin-DN population had decreased colony-formation potential; the opposite was true in SUM149. In the clonogenic assays, abrogation of survivin function radio-protected MCF7 cells in monolayer and 3D growth conditions, while SUM149 survivin-DN cells were radiosensitized in monolayer conditions.

Conclusion: We observed synergy between survivin function and radiation, although the results between the two cell lines were disparate. Further investigation is required to identify the mechanism of this discrepancy, including evaluation of the potential role of estrogen receptor status, before proceeding with small-animal experiments.

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