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Am J Cancer Res. 2015 Mar 15;5(4):1471-83. eCollection 2015.

Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1 circumscribes high invasive glioma cells and predicts poor prognosis.

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Institute of Pathology and Southwest Cancer Center, Southwest Hospital, Third Military Medical University Chongqing, 400038, China ; Key Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Pathology of Ministry of Education China.


Glioma is the most aggressive brain tumor with high invasiveness and poor prognosis. More reliable, sensitive and practical biomarkers to reveal glioma high invasiveness remain to be explored for the guidance of therapy. We herein evaluated the diagnostic and prognostic value of aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1 (ALDH1A1) in the glioma specimens from 237 patients, and found that ADLH1A1 was frequently overexpressed in the high-grade glioma (WHO grade III-IV) as compared to the low-grade glioma (WHO grade I-II) patients. The tumor cells with ALDH1A1 expression were more abundant in the region between tumor and the borderline of adjacent tissue as compared to the central part of the tumor. ALDH1A1 overexpression was associated with poor differentiation and dismal prognosis. Notably, the overall and disease-free survivals of the patients who had ALDH1A1(+) tumor cells sparsely located in the adjacent tissue were much worse. Furthermore, ALDH1A1 expression was correlated with the "classical-like" (CL) subtype as we examined GBM specimens from 72 patients. Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that ALDH1A1 was an independent marker for glioma patients' outcome. Mechanistically, both in vitro and in vivo studies revealed that ALDH1A1(+) cells isolated from either a glioblastoma cell line U251 or primary glioblastoma cells displayed significant invasiveness, clonogenicity, and proliferation as compared to ALDH1A1(-) cells, due to increased levels of mRNA and protein for matrix metalloproteinase 2, 7 and 9 (MMP2, MMP7 and MMP9). These results indicate that ALDH1A1(+) cells contribute to the progression of glioma including invasion, proliferation and poor prognosis, and suggest that targeting ALDH1A1 may have important implications for the treatment of highly invasive glioma.


ALDH1A1; glioma; invasion; matrix metalloproteinase; prognosis


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