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Expression of Aldehyde Dehydrogenase 1A1 (ALDH1A1) as a Prognostic Biomarker in Colorectal Cancer Using Immunohistochemistry

Wangshuo Yang, Yang Wang, Wei Wang, Zhuming Chen, Guang Bai

Department of General Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Jinzhou Medical University, Jinzhou, Liaoning, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24:2864-2872

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.910109

Available online:

Published: 2018-05-07

BACKGROUND: The expression of aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A1 (ALDH1A1) is increased in several human tumors, including colorectal carcinoma (CRC). The aim of this study was to compare the expression ALDH1A1 in CRC tumor tissue compared with non-tumor adjacent tissue (NAT), using immunohistochemistry (IHC), and to determine whether the expression of the ALDH1A1 protein was associated with prognostic factors in CRC.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue from 424 patients diagnosed with CRC, and 196 matched NATs were used to prepare tissue microarrays (TMAs). IHC was performed using an immunoperoxidase method with a primary polyclonal rabbit anti-ALDH1A1 antibody. The IHC scores by light microscopy were the staining intensity (scored from 0–3) multiplied by the percentage area of positive immunostaining within the visual field (scored from 0–4). Associations between tumor expression levels of ALDH1A1 and patient clinicopathological characteristics, including tumor grade, size, and TNM stage at surgery were analyzed.
RESULTS: ALDH1A1 protein expression was significantly increased in CRC tissues compared with matched NATs. In patients with CRC, increased expression of the ALDH1A1 protein was significantly associated with the presence of lymph node metastasis: 64.28% in N0 cases; 75.49% in N1 cases; and 82.14% in N2 cases, (P=0.002). Univariate and multivariate analysis showed that ALDH1A1 expression was an independent prognostic marker for CRC (P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Using IHC, the expression of the ALDH1A1 protein in CRC tissues was significantly associated with the presence of lymph node metastases and might be a potential prognostic marker in patients with CRC.

Keywords: aldehyde dehydrogenase, Colorectal Neoplasms, Lymph Nodes, Tissue Array Analysis