BMC cancer

XIAP over-expression is an independent poor prognostic marker in Middle Eastern breast cancer and can be targeted to induce efficient apoptosis.

PMID 28893228


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females and is ranked second in cancer-related deaths all over the world in women. Despite improvement in diagnosis, the survival rate of this disease has still not improved. X-linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis (XIAP) has been shown to be over-expressed in various cancers leading to poor overall survival. However, the role of XIAP in breast cancer from Middle Eastern region has not been fully explored. We examined the expression of XIAP in more than 1000 Middle Eastern breast cancer cases by immunohistochemistry. Apoptosis was measured by flow cytometry. Protein expression was determined by western blotting. Finally, in vivo studies were performed on nude mice following xenografting and treatment with inhibitors. XIAP was found to be over-expressed in 29.5% of cases and directly associated with clinical parameters such as tumor size, extra nodal extension, triple negative breast cancer and poorly differentiated breast cancer subtype. In addition, XIAP over-expression was also significantly associated with PI3-kinase pathway protein; p-AKT, proliferative marker; Ki-67 and anti-apoptotic marker; PARP. XIAP over-expression in our cohort of breast cancer was an independent poor prognostic marker in multivariate analysis. Next, we investigated inhibition of XIAP using a specific inhibitor; embelin and found that embelin treatment led to inhibition of cell viability and induction of apoptosis in breast cancer cells. Finally, breast cancer cells treated with combination of embelin and PI3-kinase inhibitor; LY294002 synergistically induced apoptosis and caused tumor growth regression in vivo. These data suggest that XIAP may be playing an important role in the pathogenesis of breast cancer and can be therapeutically targeted either alone or in combination with PI3-kinase inhibition to induce efficient apoptosis in breast cancer cells.