About 30-40% of patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) will develop metastasis after curative nephrectomy. There is a strong need to identify the early metastasis with conventional and molecular risk factors. The present study aimed to test if analysis of the CA9 gene can provide useful information to predict early metastasis after nephrectomy. This study included 63 patients with a conventional RCC. Ten tumors were N+ or/and M+ at diagnosis. The mean follow-up was 43 months (range, 4-67 months). About 11 M0N0 patients were found to have a metastasis during the follow-up. Quantitative RT-PCR of CA9 gene expression was performed. The metastasis-free survival curve was established according to the Kaplan-Meier method with comparison by the Log-Rank test. At diagnosis, the average of CA9 gene expression was significantly lower (p = 0.004) in metastatic tumors (N+ or/and M+) than in non-metastatic tumors (N0M0). For the follow-up of M0N0 patients, the metastasis-free survival rate was significantly higher (p = 0.005) in the high CA9 group than in the low-CA9 group. When combined with CA9, the metastasis-free survival rates, in terms of stage (p = 0.015) or grade (p = 0.010) were significantly different. When the stage, grade, and CA9 were combined, there was a significant difference (p = 0.004) in metastasis-free survival rates (T1T2 + G1G2 + high expression of CA9 versus T3 + G3G4 + low expression of CA9). Finally, the multivariate regression analysis identified CA9 expression (p = 0.036) as an independent predictor of early metastasis. Our study confirms that the expression level of CA9 gene in conventional RCC is related to metastasis. CA9 may be a potential marker for the prediction of early metastasis after nephrectomy and to guide post-operative follow-up and treatment.