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PURPOSE: Lactate dehydrogenase 5 (LDH-5) regulates, under hypoxic conditions, the anaerobic transformation of pyruvate to lactate for energy acquisition. Several studies have shown that serum LDH may be an ominous prognostic marker in malignant tumors. The clinical significance of tissue LDH-5, however, remains largely unexplored. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We investigated the immunohistochemical expression of LDH-5 in a series of 128 stage II/III colorectal adenocarcinomas treated with surgery alone. In addition, markers of tumor hypoxia (hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha [HIF1alpha]), angiogenesis (vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF] and phosporylated kinase domain receptor [pKDR]/flk-1 receptor) and the tumor vascular density (CD31 positive standard vascular density [sVD] and pKDR positive activated vascular density [aVD]) were assessed. RESULTS: The expression of LDH-5, together with that of HIF1alpha and pKDR, was both nuclear and cytoplasmic. Assessment, with minimal interobserver variability, was achieved using a previously described scoring system. LDH-5 was significantly associated with HIF1alpha (P = .01), aVD (P = .001) and, particularly, with pKDR expression in cancer cells (P = .0001). Tissue LDH-5 expression was linked with elevated serum LDH levels, but serum levels failed to reflect tissue expression in 71% of LDH-5 positive cases. In univariate analysis tissue LDH-5 was associated with poor survival (P = .0003, HR 15.1), whereas in multivariate analysis this isoenzyme was the strongest independent prognostic factor (P = .0009). VEGF, pKDR, aVD, sVD and vascular invasion were all significantly related to unfavorable prognosis. CONCLUSION: The immunohistochemical assessment of tissue LDH-5 and pKDR provides important prognostic information in operable colorectal cancer. The strong association between LDH-5 and pKDR expression would justify their use as surrogate markers to screen patients for tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Oncol

Publication Date





4301 - 4308


Adenocarcinoma, Adult, Aged, Analysis of Variance, Biomarkers, Tumor, Colorectal Neoplasms, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Humans, Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit, Immunohistochemistry, Isoenzymes, L-Lactate Dehydrogenase, Linear Models, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasm Staging, Predictive Value of Tests, Prognosis, Protein Kinase Inhibitors, Survival Analysis, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2