Objective: To evaluate the prognostic information of carbonic anhydrase (CA) IX expression in patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC), as increased expression of CA IX is correlated with a worse prognosis in several malignancies.
Patients and methods: CA IX expression was assessed in RCC tumours from 228 patients, using a tissue microarray technique on archival material. The expression was related to RCC cell type, Tumour-Node-Metastasis (TNM) stage, nuclear grade and survival.
Results: CA IX expression was significantly higher (P < 0.001) in 183 conventional than in 31 papillary RCC and 14 chromophobe RCC. For conventional RCC there was no correlation of CA IX expression with TNM stage or nuclear grade. To evaluate the prognostic information conventional RCC tumours were subdivided arbitrarily into three groups according to the CA IX expression, of 0-10%, 11-90% and 91-100% expression, respectively. Patients with tumours with 0-10% expression had a less favourable prognosis than those with 11-90% and 91-100% expression (P = 0.012, and 0.001), respectively. A multivariate analysis of prognostic factors for patients with conventional RCC showed that TNM stage, nuclear grade and CA IX were independent predictors of prognosis.
Conclusion: These results show that CA IX expression is higher in conventional than other RCC cell types; furthermore, patients with conventional RCC with low CA IX expression had a less favourable prognosis.