Silencing survivin expression inhibits the tumor growth of non-small-cell lung cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.

Research paper by Kejian K Zhang, Yang Y Li, Wei W Liu, Xinliang X Gao, Kewei K Zhang

Indexed on: 22 Oct '14Published on: 22 Oct '14Published in: Molecular medicine reports


Survivin is a promising anticancer therapeutic target due to its important role in the inhibition of apoptosis of tumor cells. However, little is currently known about its role in non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The present study evaluated whether the downregulation of survivin expression would affect cell proliferation, cell cycle distribution, apoptosis and colony formation of NSCLC. A recombinant lentiviral small hairpin RNA (shRNA) expression vector, which specifically targeted survivin, was constructed and transfected into the A549 human NSCLC cell line. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction and western blotting were used to determine the mRNA and protein expression levels of survivin, 48 h following the knockdown of survivin expression. Cell proliferation, apoptosis, cell cycle distribution and colony formation were determined following the downregulation of survivin by shRNA. In addition, A549 cells were injected into nude mice, and the effects of shRNA targeting the survivin gene on tumor growth were assessed. Downregulation of survivin expression, using the RNA silencing approach in A549 tumor cells, significantly suppressed the proliferation and colony formation ability of the cells, and induced tumor apoptosis in vitro. The nude mice inoculated with A549 cells developed cancer, and treatment with shRNA targeting survivin markedly inhibited the growth of these cancers, with no obvious side effects. The results of the present study suggest that suppression of survivin expression by RNA interference may induce NSCLC apoptosis, and provide a novel approach for anticancer gene therapy.