Targeting survivin to overcome cisplatin resistance in oesophageal adenocarcinoma

Rosalie V. Douglas, Leanne Stevenson, Ralph Santos, Lauren Cairns, Niamh H. McCabe, Richard D. Kennedy, Jaine K. Blayney, Richard C. Turkington*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review

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Background: The incidence of Esophageal Adenocarcinoma (EAC) has risen in the western world but response rates to chemotherapy are low and survival is poor. Increased molecular understanding is needed to develop novel treatments.

Methods: Transcriptional profiling of 274 treatment naïve EAC biopsies was performed using the Almac Diagnostics Xcel array™. All patients received platinum-based neo-adjuvant chemotherapy prior to surgical resection at four United Kingdom centers between 2004-2012. Semi-supervised clustering was performed followed by functional enrichment using DAVID. Cluster membership was assessed for independence of prognostic factors using Cox proportional hazards. Candidate targets were identified by siRNA screening in OE33 cells. Treatment with the survivin inhibitor, YM155 in EAC cell lines was also assessed.

Results: Semi-supervised hierarchical clustering identified two groups with significant differences in RFS [HR = 0.54 (0.29-0.99), p = 0.05] and OS [HR = 0.52 (0.28-0.96), p = 0.04]. There were significant associations between the clusters and both nodal and TNM downstaging but not with pathological response. The PI3K-AKT, p53, tight junction and HIF-1 signaling pathways were upregulated in the poor prognostic group. Eighty-four genes were selected and taken forward in a functional genomic siRNA screen. Twenty-seven genes showed a significant reduction in viability following siRNA-mediated knockdown and further verification resulted in twelve candidate genes. Finally, target knockdown in seven EAC cell lines resulted in four interrelated hits- BIRC5, JAK1, OSMR and SLC2A1. Knock down of BIRC5 (Survivin) induced apoptosis, as evidenced by PARP cleavage, in both the parental OE33 and cisplatin-resistant OE33CDDPR cell lines. YM155, a survivin inhibitor, is shown to induce apoptosis at nanomolar concentrations across a panel of parental and cisplatin-resistant EAC cell lines and further mechanistic work is ongoing.

Conclusions: We have performed clustering of a large transcriptomic dataset and defined a poor prognostic group of EAC patients. We identified Survivin (BIRC5) as a mediator of cisplatin resistance in EAC and a potential novel drug target. Further pre-clinical and clinical work to assess the benefit of survivin inhibition in EAC is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15535
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number15 Suppl
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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