Carbonic anhydrase 9 (CA9/CAIX) is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the CA9 gene. CAIX is a transmembrane protein and is one of only two tumor-associated carbonic anhydrase isoenzymes known. It is expressed in all clear-cell renal cell carcinoma(ccRCC), but is not detected in normal kidney or most other normal tissues. It may be involved in cell proliferation and transformation. CAIX is also the most widely expressed gene in response to hypoxia. Its crucial role in intracellular pH maintenance represents the means by which cancer cells adapt to the toxic conditions of the extracellular milieu. Furthermore, the activity of CA IX stimulates the migratory pathways of cancer cells and is connected with the increase of the aggressive/invasive phenotype of tumors. CA IX expression in many types of tumors indicates its relevance as a general marker of tumor hypoxia. Moreover, its expression is closely related to prognosis of the clinical outcome in several tumor types. All above mentioned facts support the strong position of CA IX as a potential drug therapy target.
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