Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) Is a Potential Marker for Cancer Stem Cells in Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma
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.