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Objective:Survivin is one of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family proteins, which inhibits apoptosis through pathway different from that involving the Bcl-2 family. Overexpression of survivin has been reported in the most common human cancers. The purpose of this study is to investigate survivin expression and its relevance to histological malignancy and apoptosis of brain tumors. Methods:Seventy-eight consecutive patients with brain tumor, who underwent operation, were included in this study. Pathological types of brain tumor were classified by World Health Organizaton classification. Survivin expression was detected by Western blot analysis and apoptosis was examined by DNA fragmentation. Results:Survivin was expressed in 32(41.0%) of 78 patients with brain tumor and apoptosis was detected in 14(21.9%) patients. Histological malignancy of brain tumors was not correlated with survivin expression or apoptosis(p>0.05). However, survivin-positive tumors were strongly associated with anti-apoptosis(p=0.000) and apoptosis was significantly relevant to survivin-negative tumors(p=0.006). Conclusion:These results suggest that survivin expression is strongly related to the apoptosis of brain tumors, but not associated with biological malignancy. Therefore, survivin may be a potential target for brain tumor therapy based on apoptosis. Key words:Microtubule-associated proteins(survivin);Apoptosis;Brain neoplasms.