A series of 2-(hydrazinocarbonyl)-3-aryl-1H-indole-5-sulfonamides possessing various 2-, 3- or 4- substituted phenyl groups with methyl-, halogeno- and methoxy-functionalities, or a perfluorophenyl moiety, has been derivatized by reaction with 2,4,6-trimethylpyrylium perchlorate. The new sulfonamides were evaluated as inhibitors of four mammalian carbonic anhydrase (CA, EC 18.104.22.168) isoforms, that is, CA I, II (cytosolic), CA IX and XII (transmembrane, tumor-associated forms). Excellent inhibitory activity was observed against hCA IX with most of these sulfonamides, and against hCA XII with some of the new compounds. These compounds were generally less effective inhibitors of hCA II. Being membrane impermeant, these positively-charged sulfonamides are interesting candidates for targeting the tumor-associated CA IX and XII, as possible diagnostic tools or therapeutic agents. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.