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Mod Pathol. 2010 May;23(5):743-50. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2009.189. Epub 2010 Jan 15.

Carbonic anhydrase II. A novel biomarker for gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.


Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are clinically distinct mesenchymal tumors, which generally result from expression of mutant KIT or PDGFRA receptor tyrosine kinase oncogenes. Most GISTs feature strong expression of KIT that serves as a crucial diagnostic adjunct. However, a subset of tumors lacks KIT expression and otherwise may also be difficult to distinguish from other sarcomas, including leiomyosarcoma. Because various carbonic anhydrase (CA) isozymes have been identified as potential treatment targets against different cancers, we evaluated CA II expression in 175 GISTs. Western blotting experiments indicated that CA II is highly expressed in GIST cell lines. Immunohistochemically, 95% of GISTs showed positive signal. The CA II expression in GISTs did not correlate with particular KIT or PDGFRA mutation types. CA II immunoreactivity was absent or low in other mesenchymal tumor categories analyzed. High CA II expression was associated with a better disease-specific survival rate than low or no expression (Mantel-Cox test, P<0.0001). The present results indicate that CA II is overexpressed in most GISTs, is quite selective to this tumor type among mesenchymal tumors, and therefore might be a useful biomarker in diagnostics.

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