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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 Mar;1310:58-68. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12414.

Aldehyde dehydrogenases in acute myeloid leukemia.

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Division of Hematology, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) affects approximately 15,000 persons per year in the United States and is the sixth leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The treatment of AML has advanced little in the past thirty years, in part because of the biologic heterogeneity of the disease and the difficulty in targeting AML cells while sparing normal hematopoietic cells. Advances in preventing and treating AML are likely to occur once the cellular and molecular differences between leukemia and normal hematopoietic cells are better understood. Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity is highly expressed in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), while, in contrast, a subset of AMLs are lacking this activity. This difference may be relevant to the development of AML and may also provide a better avenue for treating this disease. In this review, we summarize what is known about the ALDHs in normal HSCs and AML and propose strategies for capitalizing on these differences in the treatment of acute leukemia, and possibly other cancers as well.


ALDH; hematopoiesis; leukemia; reactive aldehydes; stem cell

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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