Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Despite recent advances in therapies including immunotherapy, patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) still experience relatively poor survival rates. The Inhibition of Apoptosis (IAP) family member, survivin, also known by its gene and protein name, Baculoviral IAP Repeat Containing 5 (BIRC5), remains one of the most frequently expressed antigens across AML subtypes. To better understand its potential to act as a target for immunotherapy and a biomarker for AML survival, we examined the protein and pathways that BIRC5 interacts with using the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG), search tool for recurring instances of neighbouring genes (STRING), WEB-based Gene Set Analysis Toolkit, Bloodspot and performed a comprehensive literature review. We then analysed data from gene expression studies. These included 312 AML samples in the Microarray Innovations In Leukemia (MILE) dataset. We found a trend between above median levels of BIRC5 being associated with improved overall survival (OS) but this did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.077, Log-Rank). There was some evidence of a beneficial effect in adjusted analyses where above median levels of BIRC5 were shown to be associated with improved OS (p = 0.001) including in Core Binding Factor (CBF) patients (p = 0.03). Above median levels of BIRC5 transcript were associated with improved relapse free survival (p < 0.0001). Utilisation of a second large cDNA microarray dataset including 306 AML cases, again showed no correlation between BIRC5 levels and OS, but high expression levels of BIRC5 correlated with worse survival in inv(16) patients (p = 0.077) which was highly significant when datasets A and B were combined (p = 0.001). In addition, decreased BIRC5 expression was associated with better clinical outcome (p = 0.004) in AML patients exhibiting CBF mainly due to patients with inv(16) (p = 0.007). This study has shown that BIRC5 expression plays a role in the survival of AML patients, this association is not apparent when we examine CBF patients as a cohort, but when those with inv(16) independently indicating that those patients with inv(16) would provide interesting candidates for immunotherapies that target BIRC5.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Mol Sci

Publication Date





BIRC5, Core Binding Factor (CBF), acute myeloid leukaemia, inv(16), overall survival, survivin, Databases, Nucleic Acid, Disease-Free Survival, Female, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Leukemic, Humans, Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute, Male, Neoplasm Proteins, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, Survival Rate, Survivin