Survivin-based treatment strategies for squamous cell carcinoma

Andrea Santarelli, Marco Mascitti, Lucio Lo Russo, Davide Sartini, Giuseppe Troiano, Monica Emanuelli, Lorenzo Lo Muzio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Survivin, an anti-apoptotic molecule abundantly expressed in most human neoplasms, has been reported to contribute to cancer initiation and drug resistance in a wide variety of human tumors. Efficient downregulation of survivin can sensitize tumor cells to various therapeutic interventions, generating considerable efforts in its validation as a new target in cancer therapy. This review thoroughly analyzes up-to-date information on the potential of survivin as a therapeutic target for new anticancer treatments. The literature dealing with the therapeutic targeting of survivin will be reviewed, discussing specifically squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), and with emphasis on the last clinical trials. This review gives insight into the recent developments undertaken in validating various treatment strategies that target survivin in SCCs and analyze the translational possibility, identifying those strategies that seem to be the closest to being incorporated into clinical practice. The most recent developments, such as dominant-negative survivin mutants, RNA interference, anti-sense oligonucleotides, small-molecule inhibitors, and peptide-based immunotherapy, seem to be helpful for effectively downregulating survivin expression and reducing tumor growth potential, increasing the apoptotic rate, and sensitizing tumor cells to chemo- and radiotherapy. However, selective and efficient targeting of survivin in clinical trials still poses a major challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number971
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Inhibitor of apoptosis
  • Oral squamous cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Survivin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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