IJMS, Vol. 24, Pages 2400: The Prognostic Value of Cancer Stem Cell Markers (CSCs) Expression—ALDH1A1, CD133, CD44—For Survival and Long-Term Follow-Up of Ovarian Cancer Patients (International Journal of Molecular Sciences)
Recurrent disease and treatment-associated chemoresistance are the two main factors accounting for poor clinical outcomes of ovarian cancer (OC) patients. Both can be associated with cancer stem cells (CSCs), which contribute to cancer formation, progression, chemoresistance, and recurrence. Hence, this study investigated whether the expression of known CSC-associated markers ALDH1A, CD44, and CD133 may predict OC patient prognosis. We analyzed their expression in primary epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) patients using immunohistochemistry and related them to clinicopathological data, including overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). Expression of ALDH1A1 was detected in 32%, CD133 in 28%, and CD44 in 33% of cases. While Kaplan–Meier analysis revealed no association of the expression of CD133 and CD44 with PFS and OS, ALDH1A1-positive patients were characterized with both significantly shorter OS (p = 0.00022) and PFS (p = 0.027). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the expression of ALDH1A1, FIGO stage III-IV, and residual disease after suboptimal debulking or neoadjuvant chemotherapy correlated with shorter OS. The results of this study identify ALDH1A1 as a potential independent prognostic factor of shorter OS and PFS in EOC patients. Therefore, targeting ALDH1A1-positive cancer cells may be a promising therapeutic strategy to influence the disease course and treatment response.