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1.  Retrospective study and immunohistochemical analysis of canine mammary sarcomas 
Canine mammary sarcomas (CMSs) are rarely diagnosed in female dogs, which explains the scarcity of immunohistochemical findings concerning those tumors. This paper presents the results of a retrospective study into CMSs and discusses the clinical features of the analyzed tumors, the expression of intermediate filaments CK, Vim, Des and α-SMA, and the expression of p63, Ki67, ERα, PR and p53 protein.
Four percent of all canine mammary tumors (CMTs) were classified as CMSs, and they represented 5.1% of malignant CMTs. The mean age at diagnosis was 11.1 ± 2.8 years. Large breed dogs were more frequently affected (38.7%). The majority of observed CMSs were fibrosarcomas (2.1%). All CMSs expressed vimentin, and higher levels of vimentin expression were noted in fibrosarcomas and osteosarcomas. Ki67 expression was significantly correlated with the grade of CMS.
Our results revealed that CMSs form a heterogeneous group, therefore, immunohistochemical examinations could support differential and final diagnosis. Although this study analyzed a limited number of samples, the reported results can expand our knowledge about CMSs. Further work is required in this field.
PMCID: PMC4029385  PMID: 24321325
Canine mammary tumor; Sarcomas; Immunohistochemistry; Dogs
2.  Five markers useful for the distinction of canine mammary malignancy 
Spontaneous canine mammary tumors constitute a serious clinical problem. There are significant differences in survival between cases with different tumor grades. Unfortunately, the distinction between various grades is not clear. A major problem in evaluating canine mammary cancer is identifying those, that are “truly” malignant. That is why the aim of our study was to find the new markers of canine malignancy, which could help to diagnose the most malignant tumors.
Analysis of gene expression profiles of canine mammary carcinoma of various grade of malignancy followed by the boosted tree analysis distinguished a `gene set`. The expression of this gene set (sehrl, zfp37, mipep, relaxin, and magi3) differs significantly in the most malignant tumors at mRNA level as well as at protein level. Despite this `gene set` is very interesting as an additional tool to estimate canine mammary malignancy, it should be validated using higher number of samples.
The proposed gene set can constitute a `malignancy marker` that could help to distinguish the most malignant canine mammary carcinomas. These genes are also interesting as targets for further investigations and therapy. So far, only two of them were linked with the cancer development.
PMCID: PMC3750412  PMID: 23844591
Canine mammary malignancy; Malignancy classifier; sehrl; mipep; magi3; zfp37; Relaxin
3.  Expression and role of PGP, BCRP, MRP1 and MRP3 in multidrug resistance of canine mammary cancer cells 
In both women and female dogs, the most prevalent type of malignant neoplasm is the spontaneous mammary tumor. In dogs, half of these are malignant. The treatment of choice for the canine patients is surgical mastectomy. Unfortunately, it often fails in high-risk, locally invasive mammary tumors as of during the time of the surgery the micro-metastases are present. Moreover, there are neither large studies conducting to prove of the benefit from the chemotherapy in dogs nor established chemotherapy treatment protocols available. Additionally, the effectiveness of each individual chemotherapeutic agent and drug resistance of canine mammary cancer have not yet been characterized. That has become the aim of our study, to assess the expression of PGP, BCRP, MRP1 and MRP3 in canine mammary cancer cell lines and to investigate their role in cancer resistance to vinblastine, cisplatin and cyclophosphamide with using RNAi approach.
The results suggested that in canine mammary cancer, the vinblastine efflux was mediated by PGP and MRP1 proteins, cisplatin efflux was mediated by all four examined efflux pumps (PGP, BCRP, MRP1 and MRP3), whereas cyclophosphamide resistance was related to BCRP activity. RNAi silencing of these efflux pumps significantly decreased IC50 doses of the examined drugs in canine mammary carcinoma cells.
Our results have indicated the treatment of cells involving use of the siRNA targeting efflux pumps could be a beneficial approach in the future.
PMCID: PMC3698016  PMID: 23773525
Multidrug resistance; Chemotherapy; Canine mammary cancer; Vinblastine; Cisplatin; Cyclophosphamide; PGP; BCRP; MRP1; MRP3
4.  Gene expression profiles in canine mammary carcinomas of various grades of malignancy 
The frequency of mammary malignancies in canine patients is even three times over than in human. In various types of cancer different intracellular signalling pathways are perturbed, thus the patients with pathologically the same type of cancer often have dissimilar genetic defects in their tumours and respond in a heterogeneous manner to anticancer treatment. That is why the objective of the hereby study was to assess the gene expression profiles in canine mammary carcinomas (in unsupervised manner) classified by pathologists as grade 1 (well differentiated), grade 2 (moderately differentiated) and grade 3 (poorly differentiated) and compare their molecular and pathological classifications.
Our unsupervised analysis classified the examined tissues into three groups. The first one significantly differed from the others and consisted of four carcinomas of grade 3 and one carcinoma of grade 2. The second group consisted of four grade 1 carcinomas. The very heterogeneous (based on their pathological parameters) group was the last one which consisted of two grade 1 carcinomas, two grade 3 carcinomas and five grade 2 carcinomas. Hierarchical dendrogram showed that the most malignant tumour group had significantly distinct gene expression.
Molecular classification of canine mammary tumours is not identical with pathological classification. In our opinion molecular and pathological characterization of canine mammary malignancy can complement one another. However, furthers studies in this field are required.
PMCID: PMC3691656  PMID: 23587192
5.  CSF-1R as an inhibitor of apoptosis and promoter of proliferation, migration and invasion of canine mammary cancer cells 
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) have high impact on the cancer development because they can facilitate matrix invasion, angiogenesis, and tumor cell motility. It gives cancer cells the capacity to invade normal tissues and metastasize. The signaling of colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF-1R) which is an important regulator of proliferation and differentiation of monocytes and macrophages regulates most of the tissue macrophages. However, CSF-1R is expressed also in breast epithelial tissue during some physiological stages i.g.: pregnancy and lactation. Its expression has been also detected in various cancers. Our previous study has showed the expression of CSF-1R in all examined canine mammary tumors. Moreover, it strongly correlated with grade of malignancy and ability to metastasis. This study was therefore designed to characterize the role of CSF-1R in canine mammary cancer cells proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and invasion. As far as we know, the study presented hereby is a pioneering experiment in this field of veterinary medicine.
We showed that csf-1r silencing significantly increased apoptosis (Annexin V test), decreased proliferation (measured as Ki67 expression) and decreased migration (“wound healing” assay) of canine mammary cancer cells. Treatment of these cells with CSF-1 caused opposite effect. Moreover, csf-1r knock-down changed growth characteristics of highly invasive cell lines on Matrigel matrix, and significantly decreased the ability of these cells to invade matrix. CSF-1 treatment increased invasion of cancer cells.
The evidence of the expression and functional role of the CSF-1R in canine mammary cancer cells indicate that CSF-1R targeting may be a good therapeutic approach.
PMCID: PMC3639202  PMID: 23561040
Canine mammary carcinoma; CSF-1R; Tumor-associated macrophages; Tumor microenvironment
6.  A role of ghrelin in canine mammary carcinoma cells proliferation, apoptosis and migration 
Ghrelin is a natural ligand of the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R). They are often co-expressed in multiple human tumors and related cancer cell lines what can indicate that the ghrelin/GHS-R axis may have an important role in tumor growth and progression. However, a role of ghrelin in canine tumors remains unknown. Thus, the aim of our study was two-fold: (1) to assess expression of ghrelin and its receptor in canine mammary cancer and (2) to examine the effect of ghrelin on carcinoma cells proliferation, apoptosis, migration and invasion. The expression of ghrelin and its receptor in canine mammary cancer tissues and cell lines (isolated from primary tumors and their metastases) was examined using Real-time qPCR and immunohistochemistry. For apoptosis analysis the Annexin V and propidium iodide dual staining was applied whereas cell proliferation was evaluated by MTT assay and BrdU incorporation test. The influence of ghrelin on cancer cells migration and invasion was assessed using Boyden chamber assays and wound healing assay.
The highest expression of ghrelin was observed in metastatic cancers whereas the lowest expression of ghrelin receptor was detected in tumors of the 3rd grade of malignancy. Higher expression of ghrelin and its receptor was detected in cancer cell lines isolated from metastases than in cell lines isolated from primary tumors. In vitro experiments demonstrated that exposure to low doses of ghrelin stimulates cellular proliferation, inhibits apoptosis and promotes motility and invasion of canine mammary cancer cells. Growth hormone secretagogue receptor inhibitor ([D-Lys3]-GHRP6) as well as RNA interference enhances early apoptosis.
The presence of ghrelin and GHS-R in all of the examined canine mammary tumors may indicate their biological role in cancer growth and development. Our experiments conducted in vitro confirmed that ghrelin promotes cancer development and metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3514346  PMID: 22999388
Canine mammary carcinoma; Ghrelin; Growth hormone secretagogue receptor
7.  CA 15–3 cell lines and tissue expression in canine mammary cancer and the correlation between serum levels and tumour histological grade 
Mammary tumours are the most common malignancy diagnosed in female dogs and a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in this species. Carbohydrate antigen (CA) 15–3 is a mucinous glycoprotein aberrantly over-expressed in human mammary neoplasms and one of the most widely used serum tumour markers in women with breast cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the antigenic analogies of human and canine CA 15–3 and to assess its expression in canine mammary cancer tissues and cell lines. Immunohistochemical expression of CA 15–3 was evaluated in 7 canine mammary cancer cell lines and 50 malignant mammary tumours. As a positive control, the human breast carcinoma cell line MCF7 and tissue were used. To assess CA 15–3 staining, a semi-quantitative method was applied. To confirm the specificity and cross-reactivity of an anti-human CA 15–3 antibody to canine tissues, an immunoblot analysis was performed. We also investigated serum CA 15–3 activity to establish whether its expression could be assigned to several tumour characteristics to evaluate its potential use as a serum tumour marker in the canine mammary oncology field.
Immunocytochemical analysis revealed CA 15–3 expression in all examined canine mammary cancer cell lines, whereas its expression was confirmed by immunoblot only in the most invasive cells (CMT-W1, CMT-W1M, CMT-W2 and CMT-W2M). In the tissue, an immunohistochemical staining pattern was observed in 34 (68%) of the malignant tumours. A high statistical correlation (p = 0.0019) between serum CA 15–3 levels and the degree of tumour proliferation and differentiation was shown, which indicates that the values of this serum marker increase as the tumour stage progresses.
The results of this study reveal that CA 15–3 is expressed in both canine mammary tumour cell lines and tissues and that serum levels significantly correlate with the histological grade of the malignancy.
PMCID: PMC3412725  PMID: 22726603
8.  The gene expression profiles of canine mammary cancer cells grown with carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) as a co-culture in vitro 
It is supposed that fibroblasts present in tumour microenvironment increase cancer invasiveness and its ability to metastasize but the mechanisms have not been clearly defined yet. Thus, the current study was designed to assess changes in gene expression in five various cancer cell lines grown as a co-culture with the carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in vitro.
A carcinoma-associated fibroblast cell line was isolated from a canine mammary cancer. Then, a co-culture of cancer cells with the CAFs was established and maintained for 72 hrs. Having sorted the cells, a global gene expression in cancer cells using DNA microarrays was examined. The analysis revealed an up-regulation of 100 genes and a down-regulation of 106 genes in the cancer cells grown as a co-culture with the CAFs in comparison to control conditions. The PANTHER binomial statistics tool was applied to determine statistically over-manifested pathways (p < 0.05). Bulk of the up-regulated genes are involved in the adhesion, the angiogenesis, the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and generally take part in the developmental processes. These results were further confirmed using real-time qPCR. Moreover, a wound-healing assay and growth characteristics on Matrigel matrix showed that CAFs increase cancer cell migration and matrix invasion.
The results of the current study showed that the co-culturing of cancer cells and the CAFs caused significant changes to the cancer gene expression. The presence of the CAFs in a microenvironment of cancer cells promotes adhesion, angiogenesis and EMT.
PMCID: PMC3355042  PMID: 22453032
9.  Global gene expression profiles of canine macrophages and canine mammary cancer cells grown as a co-culture in vitro 
Solid tumours comprise various cells, including cancer cells, resident stromal cells, migratory haemopoietic cells and other. These cells regulate tumour growth and metastasis. Macrophages constitute probably the most important element of all interactions within the tumour microenvironment. However, the molecular mechanism, that guides tumour environment, still remains unknown. Exploring the underlying molecular mechanisms that orchestrate these phenomena has been the aim of our study.
A co-culture of canine mammary cancer cells and macrophages was established and maintained for 72 hrs. Having sorted the cells, gene expression in cancer cells and macrophages, using DNA microarrays, was examined. The results were confirmed using real-time qPCR and confocal microscopy. Moreover, their ability for migration and invasion has been assessed.
Microarray analysis showed that the up-regulated genes in the cancer cell lines are involved in 15 highly over-manifested pathways. The pathways that drew our diligent attention included: the inflammation pathway mediated by chemokine and cytokine, the Toll receptor signalling pathway and the B cell activation. The up-regulated genes in the macrophages were involved in only 18 significantly over-manifested pathways: the angiogenesis, the p53 pathway feedback loops2 and the Wnt signalling pathway. The microarray analysis revealed that co-culturing of cancer cells with macrophages initiated the myeloid-specific antigen expression in cancer cells, as well as cytokine/chemokine genes expression. This finding was confirmed at mRNA and protein level. Moreover, we showed that macrophages increase cancer migration and invasion.
The presence of macrophages in the cancer environment induces acquisition of the macrophage phenotype (specific antigens and chemokines/cytokines expression) in cancer cells. We presumed that cancer cells also acquire other myeloid features, such as: capabilities of cell rolling, spreading, migration and matrix invasion (what has also been confirmed by our results). It may, perhaps, be the result of myeloid-cancer cell hybrid formation, or cancer cells mimicking macrophages phenotype, owing to various proteins secreted by macrophages.
PMCID: PMC3315417  PMID: 22353646

Results 1-9 (9)