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Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Jan 15;12(2):473-7.

Expression of carbonic anhydrase IX in astrocytic tumors predicts poor prognosis.

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Department of Pathology, Centre for Laboratory Medicine, Tampere University Hospital, FIN-33521 Tampere, Finland.



Carbonic anhydrase IX (CA IX) is a hypoxia-inducible enzyme, which is associated with neoplastic growth. Ectopic CA IX expression has been observed in several tumors, whose normal counterparts do not express this enzyme. Normal human brain tissue shows only slight or no expression of CA IX.


We describe CA IX expression in human diffusely infiltrating astrocytomas. The association of CA IX is evaluated with clinicopathologic and molecular factors including cell proliferation and apoptosis as well as the expression of p53 and epidermal growth factor receptor.


CA IX immunopositivity was observed in 284 cases of 362 (78%) tumors. The positive areas were often located in close proximity to necrotic regions (P < 0.001). The CA IX immunoreactivity showed strong association with tumor malignancy grades (P < 0.0001). CA IX showed no association with p53 expression nor did it correlate with epidermal growth factor receptor-amplification, apoptosis, or cell proliferation. CA IX intensity had significant prognostic value in univariate (P=0.0011, log-rank test) and multivariate survival analysis (P = 0.038, Cox analysis).


CA IX expression is common in diffusely infiltrating high-grade astrocytomas. Our results suggest that CA IX is a useful biomarker for predicting poor prognosis of astrocytic tumors. It may also be a promising target molecule for the improvement of therapeutic interventions in astrocytomas.

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