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Clin Chem Lab Med. 2014 Sep 1;52(9):1367-77. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2014-0129.

Increased expression of carbonic anhydrase IX in oral submucous fibrosis and oral squamous cell carcinoma.


Abstract Background: Cumulative evidence has demonstrated that carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) is upregulated in many types of human cancers. We attempted to evaluate plasma levels of CAIX in patients with oral cancer and investigated whether plasma CAIX is correlated with the progression of this disease.


In total, 191 patients with oral cancer, 30 patients with oral submucous fibrosis and 100 controls were recruited in this study. The plasma samples were collected and the levels of soluble CAIX in plasma were determined by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Furthermore, the normal buccal mucosa fibroblast was challenged by arecoline, the major areca nut alkaloid, to assess the relationship between the levels of CAIX and areca nut chewing in oral cancer patients.


RESULTS showed that patients with oral cancer exhibited significantly higher levels of soluble CAIX compared to controls (p<0.001). Plasma levels of CAIX in oral cancer patients were associated with clinical stages after adjusting for age and areca nut chewing (p<0.05). In addition, patients with areca nuts chewing had higher CAIX levels than those who have not chewed areca nuts. Total carbonic anhydrase activity and CAIX mRNA levels were significantly higher in oral submucous fibrosis fibroblasts than in normal buccal mucosa fibroblasts. Moreover, arecoline elevated CAIX expression in a dose-dependent manner in normal buccal mucosa fibroblasts.


Our results suggest that determining plasma levels of CAIX may be used as a non-invasive method for monitoring oral cancer progression and the involvement of areca quid chewing in oral carcinogenesis may be related to a higher expression of CAIX.

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