Expression of the pro-apoptotic protein ARTS in astrocytic tumors: Correlation with malignancy grade and survival rate

Yossi Gottfried, Eugene Voldavsky, Lena Yodko, Edmond Sabo, Ofer Ben-Itzhak, Sarit Larisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND. Apoptosis (i.e., programmed cell death) plays a major role in the development of astrocytic tumors, which are the most common tumors of the central nervous system. ARTS, a proapoptotic protein that is localized in the mitochondria, promotes apoptosis by functioning as an XIAP antagonist and a caspase activator. METHODS. To investigate the role of ARTS in astrocytoma, the authors examined protein expression and apoptotic activity in 72 astrocytic tumors, which included low-grade astrocytomas, anaplastic astrocytomas, and glioblastomas. RESULTS. Whereas normal astrocytes did not express the ARTS protein, astrocytoma cells strongly expressed ARTS, and the expression of this protein increased with increasing tumor grade. Furthermore, increased levels of ARTS were significantly associated with higher rates of apoptosis (as measured using the terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end-labeling [TUNEL] assay as well as an immunohistochemical staining assay for active caspase-3) in these tumors. Levels of two other apoptosis-related proteins, p53 and Bcl-2, also were examined using immunohistochemical methods; ARTS expression was found to be positively correlated with expression of the former and negatively correlated with expression of the latter, which is known to possess antiapoptotic activity. CONCLUSIONS. The results of the current study suggest that ARTS levels reliably reflect the ability of cells to undergo apoptosis, which serves as a defense mechanism against the development and progression of astrocytoma. Furthermore, ARTS expression, when taken into consideration in combination with tumor grade, was the only independent predictor of survival identified in the current analysis. Thus, the authors conclude that ARTS may possess utility as a prognostic marker, as well as a therapeutic tool, for patients with astrocytoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2614-2621
Number of pages8
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • ARTS
  • Apoptosis
  • Astrocytic tumors
  • Survival rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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