Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Cycle. 2011 May 1;10(9):1378-84. Epub 2011 May 1.

Aldehyde dehydrogenase: its role as a cancer stem cell marker comes down to the specific isoform.

Author information

Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Novia Scotia, Canada.


Recent evidence suggests that enhanced aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity is a hallmark of cancer stem cells (CSC) measurable by the aldefluor assay. ALDH1A1, one of 19 ALDH isoforms expressed in humans, was generally believed to be responsible for the ALDH activity of CSCs. More recently, experiments with murine hematopoietic stem cells, murine progenitor pancreatic cells, and human breast CSCs indicate that other ALDH isoforms, particularly ALDH1A3, significantly contribute to aldefluor positivity, which may be tissue and cancer specific. Therefore, potential prognostic application involving the use of CSC prevalence in tumor tissue to predict patient outcome requires the identification and quantification of specific ALDH isoforms. Herein we review the suggested roles of ALDH in CSC biology and the immunohistological studies testing the potential application of ALDH isoforms as novel cancer prognostic indicators.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center