A QSAR based almost entirely on quantum theoretically calculated descriptors has been developed for a large and heterogeneous group of aromatic and heteroaromatic carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, using orbital energies, nodal angles, atomic charges, and some other intuitively appealing descriptors. Most calculations have been done at the 133LYP/6-31G* level of theory. For the first time we have treated five-membered rings by the same means that we have used for benzene rings in the past. Our flip regression technique has been expanded to encompass automatic variable selection. The statistical quality of the results, while not equal to those we have had with benzene derivatives, is very good considering the noncongeneric nature of the compounds. The most significant correlation was with charge on the atoms of the sulfonamide group, followed by the nodal orientation and the solvation energy calculated by COSMO and the charge polarization of the molecule calculated as the mean absolute Mulliken charge over all atoms. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.