Canine mammary tumours (CMTs) are the most common tumours of entire female dogs and represent a promising model for human breast cancer. Little is known about the presence and prognostic value of lymphangiogenesis in CMTs. The aims of the present study were to analyze selected characteristics of lymphatic vessels in CMTs, to evaluate their prognostic significance and to compare these results with studies of human breast cancer. Fifty-six benign CMTs, 55 malignant CMTs and 13 control samples of normal canine mammary gland tissue were studied. Serial immunohistochemical labelling with the lymphatic marker prox-1 and the proliferation marker Ki67 was performed. In intratumoural (IT) and peritumoural (PT) regions, the lymphatic vessel density (LVD), mean lymphatic vessel perimeter (LVP) and relative area occupied by lymphatic vessels (LVA) were analyzed. Lymphatic endothelial cell proliferation (LECP) and tumour cell proliferation (TCP) were also measured. Lymphatic vessels were identified in IT and PT regions and lymphangiogenesis was present in both regions. The IT lymphatic vessels were smaller, less numerous and occupied a smaller relative area compared with those of the PT region. Although no differences in lymphatic vessel parameters were observed between benign and malignant tumours, control tissue differed significantly from neoplastic tissue. None of the lymphatic vessel parameters showed a prognostic value, except for LECP in PT regions of benign tumours. The findings were in accordance with results of investigations into human breast cancer, which supports the use of dogs with spontaneously occurring CMTs as an animal model in comparative oncology trials.

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Journal of Comparative Pathology
Department of Virology

Sleeckx, N, van Brantegem, L, van den Eynden, G, Fransen, E, Casteleyn, C, van Cruchten, S, … van Ginneken, C. (2013). Lymphangiogenesis in Canine Mammary Tumours: A Morphometric and Prognostic Study. Journal of Comparative Pathology. doi:10.1016/j.jcpa.2013.09.006