Tumor contains small population of cancer stem cells (CSC) that are responsible for its maintenance and relapse. Analysis of these CSCs may lead to effective prognostic and therapeutic strategies for the treatment of cancer patients. We report here the identification of CSCs from human lung cancer cells using Aldefluor assay followed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis. Isolated cancer cells with relatively high aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) activity display in vitro features of CSCs, including capacities for proliferation, self-renewal, and differentiation, resistance to chemotherapy, and expressing CSC surface marker CD133. In vivo experiments show that the ALDH1-positive cells could generate tumors that recapitulate the heterogeneity of the parental cancer cells. Immunohistochemical analysis of 303 clinical specimens from three independent cohorts of lung cancer patients and controls show that expression of ALDH1 is positively correlated with the stage and grade of lung tumors and related to a poor prognosis for the patients with early-stage lung cancer. ALDH1 is therefore a lung tumor stem cell-associated marker. These findings offer an important new tool for the study of lung CSCs and provide a potential prognosti factor and therapeutic target for treatment of the patients with lung cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research