Overexpression of carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) is an independent unfavorable prognostic marker in endometrioid ovarian cancer

Virchows Arch. 2011 Aug;459(2):193-200. doi: 10.1007/s00428-011-1105-y. Epub 2011 Jun 21.


Carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) is a strictly membranous expressed metalloenzyme involved in cell adhesion, pH homeostasis, and cancer progression. This study was designed to assess the role of CAIX in primary ovarian cancer. Two hundred five well-characterized primary ovarian carcinomas were analyzed on a tissue microarray. CAIX expression was determined by immunohistochemistry using a four-step scoring system. Moderate and strong membranous CAIX expression was found in 37 out of 205 (18%) of all assessable ovarian cancer specimens. High levels of CAIX expression were related to mucinous and endometrioid phenotype of ovarian carcinomas (p < 0.05). There was no association between CAIX overexpression and tumor stage, grading, and mitotic count of ovarian carcinomas (p > 0.05). In univariate Cox regression analysis, advanced tumor stage (p < 0.01), high tumor grade (p = 0.017), high mitotic count (p = 0.025), and high CAIX expression levels (p = 0.031) were correlated to shorter overall patient survival. High pT stage (p = 0.036) and CAIX overexpression were connected to poor clinical outcome in endometrioid ovarian carcinomas. Multivariate Cox regression hazard analysis comprising tumor stage, tumor grade, mitotic count, and CAIX expression revealed pT2/3 stage and CAIX overexpression (scores 2 and 3) as independent prognostic markers in ovarian cancer (p < 0.01, each) as well as in the subgroup of endometrioid carcinomas (p < 0.05, each). In conclusion, CAIX is overexpressed in a substantial proportion of mucinous and endometrioid ovarian carcinomas and connected to poor patient outcome. Our data support the potential therapeutic benefit of newly developed targeting antibodies in advanced ovarian cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / biosynthesis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Carbonic Anhydrase IX
  • Carbonic Anhydrases / biosynthesis*
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / enzymology*
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Tissue Array Analysis


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CA9 protein, human
  • Carbonic Anhydrase IX
  • Carbonic Anhydrases