Identification of survivin as a promising target for the immunotherapy of adult B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Boullosa LF., Savaliya P., Bonney S., Orchard L., Wickenden H., Lee C., Smits E., Banham AH., Mills KI., Orchard K., Guinn B-A.
B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) is a rare heterogeneous disease characterized by a block in lymphoid differentiation and a rapid clonal expansion of immature, non-functioning B cells. Adult B-ALL patients have a poor prognosis with less than 50% chance of survival after five years and a high relapse rate after allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Novel treatment approaches are required to improve the outcome for patients and the identification of B-ALL specific antigens are essential for the development of targeted immunotherapeutic treatments. We examined twelve potential target antigens for the immunotherapy of adult B-ALL. RT-PCR indicated that only survivin and WT1 were expressed in B-ALL patient samples (7/11 and 6/11, respectively) but not normal donor control samples (0/8). Real-time quantitative (RQ)-PCR showed that survivin was the only antigen whose transcript exhibited significantly higher expression in the B-ALL samples (n = 10) compared with healthy controls (n = 4)(p = 0.015). Immunolabelling detected SSX2, SSX2IP, survivin and WT1 protein expression in all ten B-ALL samples examined, but survivin was not detectable in healthy volunteer samples. To determine whether these findings were supported by the analyses of a larger cohort of patient samples, we performed metadata analysis on an already published microarray dataset. We found that only survivin was significantly over-expressed in B-ALL patients (n = 215) compared to healthy B-cell controls (n = 12)(p = 0.013). We have shown that survivin is frequently transcribed and translated in adult B-ALL, but not healthy donor samples, suggesting this may be a promising target patient group for survivin-mediated immunotherapy.