Alcohol dehydrogenase isoenzymes and aldehyde dehydrogenase activity in the sera of patients with esophageal cancer.
ABSTRACT Various alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) isoenzymes and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) exist in the human esophageal mucosa. In our last experiments we have shown that ADH and ALDH are present also in the esophageal cancer cells. Moreover, the activities of total ADH and class IV isoenzymes were significantly higher in cancer tissue than in healthy mucosa, which suggests that these changes may be reflected by enzyme activity in the serum. Therefore, we measured the activity of total alcohol dehydrogenase, and classes I-IV of this enzyme and aldehyde dehydrogenase in the sera of patients with this cancer. Serum samples were taken for routine biochemical investigation from 67 patients with esophageal cancer before treatment. Total ADH activity was measured by photometric method with p-nitrosodimethylaniline (NDMA) as a substrate and ALDH activity by the fluorometric method with 6-methoxy-2-naphtaldehyde as a substrate. For the measurement of the activity of class I and II isoenzymes, we employed the fluorometric methods, with class-specific fluorogenic substrates. The activity of class III alcohol dehydrogenase was measured by the photometric method with formaldehyde and class IV with m-nitrobenzaldehyde as a substrate. A statistically significant increase of class IV alcohol dehydrogenase isoenzymes was found in the sera of cancer patients. The median activity of this class isoenzyme in the total cancer group increased by about 26.5% (7.42 mU/l) in comparison to the control level (5.46 mU/l). The total alcohol dehydrogenase activity was significantly higher (30%) among patients with cancer. The activities of other tested ADH isoenzymes and total ALDH were unchanged. The activity of the class I ADH isoenzyme was significantly higher in the sera of drinkers with esophageal cancer than non-drinking patients. The increased total activity of alcohol dehydrogenase and class IV isoenzyme in the sera of patients with esophageal cancer probably can be caused by release of this isoenzyme from cancer cells or might be stimulated by alcohol drinking.