• ALDH1;
  • cancer stromal cell;
  • cancer-initiating cell;
  • neoadjuvant therapy;
  • non-small cell lung cancer

Prognostic factors for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have been treated with neoadjuvant therapy have not been fully assessed. The purpose of this study was to analyze prognostic biomarkers in NSCLC after treatment with neoadjuvant therapy, with special reference to the immunophenotypes of both the cancer cells and stromal cells. A total of 52 patients with NSCLC who were treated with neoadjuvant therapy followed by complete resection were included. We examined the expressions of nine markers in the cancer cells and stromal cells. The 5-year disease-free survival rate of patients with high aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) expression levels in their cancer cells was significantly lower than those with a low ALDH1 level (47.3% vs. 21.5%, respectively; P = 0.023). The other molecules expressed in cancer cells did not exhibit any prognostic value. In NSCLC without neoadjuvant therapy (case control, n = 104), expression of ALDH1 in cancer cells was not correlated with prognosis (P = 0.507). A multivariate analysis identified ALDH1 expression in cancer cells as significantly independent prognostic factors for disease-free survival (P = 0.045). The current study indicated that the immunophenotypes of ALDH1 in cancer cells could have prognostic value for patients with NSCLC who are treated with neoadjuvant therapy.