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Cancer Gene Ther. 1996 Jan-Feb;3(1):24-30.

Overexpression of the human aldehyde dehydrogenase class I results in increased resistance to 4-hydroperoxycyclophosphamide.

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Division of Medical Oncology, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610-0277, USA.


A correlation between overexpression of aldehyde dehydrogenase and resistance to oxazaphosphorines, widely used anticancer agents, has been shown. To investigate the direct role of the human aldehyde dehydrogenase class 1 (ALDH-1) in the resistance to one of these agents, 4-hydroperoxycyclophosphamide (4-HC), an active metabolite of cyclophosphamide, neomycin-selectable plasmid or retroviral constructs harboring the wild-type ALDH-1 complementary DNA in the sense orientation were transfected into K562 leukemic cell lines. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis confirmed the presence of vector DNA in the stably transfected K562 cells. Reverse transcriptase PCR and Northern and Western blot analysis showed expression of ALDH-1 mRNA and protein in the cells transfected with ALDH-1 in the sense orientation but not in cells transfected with vector alone. The activity of the expressed ALDH-1 was demonstrated using spectrophotometric assay. Stably transfected K562 cells were subjected to various doses of 4-HC, and cell viability was assayed using clonogenic cell culture in semisolid medium. Results demonstrate that K562 cells transfected with ALDH-1 in the sense orientation display increased resistance to 4-HC compared with wild-type or vector-transfected K562 cells. Furthermore, the addition of diethylaminobenzaldehyde, a specific inhibitor for ALDH-1, restored the sensitivity of the ALDH-1-expressing K562 cells to 4-HC. Thus, the data pinpoint the direct role of ALDH-1 in the protection against 4-HC cytotoxicity.

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