IJMS, Vol. 24, Pages 2581: Carbonic Anhydrase IX Expression and Treatment Response Measured in Rectal Adenocarcinoma Following Neoadjuvant Chemo-Radiotherapy (International Journal of Molecular Sciences)
The overexpression of the pH regulator carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) due to hypoxic/metabolic stress was reported in various tumors as an adverse prognostic feature. Our retrospective study aimed to investigate the general pattern and dynamics of CAIX expression in rectal adenocarcinoma following preoperative neoadjuvant therapy (NAT) in matched initial biopsy and surgical resection samples. A total of 40/55 (72.72%) of the post-treatment samples showed partial CAIX expression, frequently in the proximity of hypoxic tumor areas. CAIX expression showed a significant increase in post-treatment tumors (mean% 21.8 ± 24.9 SD vs. 39.4 ± 29.4 SD, p < 0.0001), that was not obvious in untreated tumors (mean% 15.0 ± 21.3 SD vs. 20 ± 23.02, p = 0.073). CAIXhigh phenotype was associated with mutant KRAS status and lack of pathological regression (WHO Tumor Regression Grade 4 and 5). However, the adverse effect of CAIX on overall or progression-free survival could not be statistically confirmed. In conclusion, the dynamic upregulation of CAIX expression is a general feature of rectal adenocarcinoma following neoadjuvant chemo-radiotherapy indicating therapy-induced metabolic reprogramming and cellular adaptation. A synergism of the CAIX-associated regulatory pathways and the mutant KRAS oncogenic signaling most likely contributes to therapy resistance and survival of residual cancer.