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APMIS. 2012 Feb;120(2):117-29. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0463.2011.02820.x. Epub 2011 Oct 25.

Carbonic anhydrase isozymes II, IX, and XII in uterine tumors.

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  • 1Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Tampere, Finland.


Histopathological diagnostics of gynecological malignancies continues to be challenging despite the well established criteria. For example, the morphological distinction of uterine leiomyosarcoma from certain variants of benign leiomyoma can be difficult. Herein, we investigated the expression of Carbonic anhydrase (CA) II, IX, and XII in the normal endometrium, leiomyomas, uterine sarcomas, and endometrial adenocarcinomas using immunohistochemistry. These isozymes are considered promising diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets. The normal endometrium showed high CA XII expression, whereas the signals were lower in endometrial adenocarcinoma (p < 0.004). Only sporadic CA IX staining was found in the normal endometrium, whereas the enzyme was overexpressed in most cases of endometrial adenocarcinoma (p < 0.005). CA II expression was slightly weaker in the normal endometrium than that in the adenocarcinomas (p < 0.008). Positive immunostaining reactions for CAs were observed in the uterine sarcomas, whereas all leiomyomas were negative for CA II and XII. A comparison between leiomyomas and sarcomas showed statistically significant differences for all studied isozymes (p < 0.001). Our study shows that CA isozymes could together serve as histopathological biomarkers for differential diagnosis between uterine leiomyosarcoma and leiomyoma. In addition to being found in leiomyosarcomas, CA II and IX were overexpressed in endometrial adenocarcinoma, where they might regulate the pH of the tumor microenvironment.

© 2011 The Authors. APMIS © 2011 APMIS.

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