PurposeDiffuse astrocytic tumors are the most frequently occurring primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Their histological sub-classification into diffuse astrocytoma (DA), anaplastic astrocytoma (AA) and glioblastoma (GB) is challenging and the available prognostic factors are limited to age and tumor subtype. Biomarkers that may improve the histological sub-classification and/or serve as prognostic factors are, therefore, urgently needed. The relationship between survivin and p53 in diffuse astrocytic tumor progression and survival is currently unclear. Here, we aimed to assess the relevance of these proteins in the accuracy of the histological sub-classification of these tumors and their respective treatment responses.MethodsOne hundred and thirty-three formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded diffuse astrocytic tumor samples were included. The tumor samples were histologically reviewed and subsequently assessed for p53 and survivin expression and the presence of the IDH R132H mutation by immunohistochemistry. p53 expression levels and survivin subcellular localization patterns were correlated with histological classification and clinical outcome.ResultsWe found that age and histological subtype were the only features with a prognostic impact. In addition, we found that high p53 expression levels and a nuclear survivin localization correlated with the AA subtype, whereas cytoplasmic survivin localization correlated with the GB subtype. We also found that patients carrying tumors with a high cytoplasmic survivin expression, a high nuclear survivin expression or a high p53 expression, and who did not receive radiotherapy, exhibited poorer short-term and long-term overall survival rates.ConclusionsOur data suggest that subcellular survivin localization and p53 expression may be employed as valuable tools to improve the accuracy of the histological sub-classification of diffuse astrocytic tumors. Patients whose tumors overexpress these proteins may benefit from radiotherapy, irrespective age and/or histological classification.