Lactate dehydrogenase A in cancer: a promising target for diagnosis and therapy

IUBMB Life. 2013 Nov;65(11):904-10. doi: 10.1002/iub.1216. Epub 2013 Nov 7.


One of the principal biochemical characteristics of malignant cells compared to normal cells is a metabolic switch from oxidative phosphorylation to increased glycolysis, even under hypoxic conditions, and is termed the Warburg effect. Lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) catalyzes the conversion of pyruvate to lactate and is considered to be a key checkpoint of anaerobic glycolysis. It is elevated in many types of cancers and has been linked to tumor growth, maintenance, and invasion; therefore, its inhibition may restrict the energy supply in tumors and thereby reduce the metastatic and invasive potential of cancer cells. This enzyme is receiving a great deal of attention as a potential diagnostic marker or a predictive biomarker for many types of cancer and as a therapeutic target for new anticancer treatments. In this review, we summarize the role of LDHA in cancer, discuss its potential significance in clinical diagnosis and prognosis of cancer, and propose LDHA as a novel target for the inhibition of tumor growth and invasiveness.

Keywords: biomarkers; cancer; chemotherapy; diagnosis; glycolysis; lactate dehydrogenase A.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Glycolysis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / blood
  • Isoenzymes / physiology
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / blood
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / physiology*
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase 5
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation
  • Prognosis
  • Pyruvic Acid / metabolism


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Isoenzymes
  • Pyruvic Acid
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase 5