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Carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) is a membrane-associated carbonic anhydrase (CA), strongly induced by hypoxia. CAIX is overexpressed in a variety of tumor types and associated with increased metastasis and poor prognosis. An inhibitor of CAs, acetazolamide has been reported to inhibit invasion. We used RNA interference (RNAi) to examine the function of CAIX in MDA468 and MDA231 breast carcinoma cells, which express high levels of CAIX under hypoxia. Hypoxia-induced CA activity was completely blocked by specific RNAi (P < 0.01). RNAi-treated cells showed growth delay in dense monolayer culture and a 50% reduction in clonogenic survival under hypoxia. In the MDA468 cells, there was no effect of RNAi treatment on invasion. In a cell line that did not induce CAIX under hypoxia, RT112, we found no effect on the ability of cells transfected with CAIX to invade or migrate. Thus, CAIX plays an important role in the growth and survival of tumor cells under normoxia and hypoxia, making it a potential target for cancer therapy, but is not involved in invasion.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer Res

Publication Date





6160 - 6165


Acetazolamide, Adenocarcinoma, Antigens, Neoplasm, Breast Neoplasms, Carbonic Anhydrase IX, Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors, Carbonic Anhydrases, Cell Division, Cell Hypoxia, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Movement, Cell Survival, Colonic Neoplasms, Humans, Neoplasm Invasiveness, RNA Interference, Transfection, Up-Regulation