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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Elevated Krüppel-like factor 4 transcription factor in canine mammary carcinoma

Pei-Yi Chu12, Nicholas Chung-Heng Hsu3, Albert Taiching Liao2, Kun-Tu Yeh4, Ming-Feng Hou5* and Chen-Hsuan Liu2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, St. Martin De Porres Hospital, No. 565, Section 2, Daya Road, Chiayi, 60069, Taiwan

2 Department and Graduate Institute of Veterinary Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Section 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, 10617, Taiwan

3 Graduate Institute of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, No. 100, Shih-Chuan 1st Road, Kaohsiung, 80708, Taiwan

4 Department of Pathology, Changhua Christian Hospital, No. 135, Nanxiao Street, Changhua, 500, Taiwan

5 Cancer Center, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, No. 100, Tzyou 1st Road, Kaohsiung, 80708, Taiwan

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BMC Veterinary Research 2011, 7:58  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-7-58

Published: 7 October 2011



Krüppel-like factors (KLFs) are critical regulators of biological and physiological systems and have been extensively studied for their roles in cell proliferation, differentiation and survival in the context of cancer. Among the KLFs, KLF4 is highly expressed in human breast cancers and plays an oncogenic role. The present study examined the expression of KLF4 and assessed its significance in canine mammary carcinoma.


Immunohistochemistry was employed to investigate the expression of KLF4 in 142 cases of canine mammary tumor. 75 of the 142 (52.8%) cases were histologically confirmed as mammary carcinoma. Quantification of immunohistochemistry was carried out using Quick score which multiply the staining intensity by the percentage of positive cells. High KLF4 expression was identified in 44 of the 75 (59%) dogs with mammary carcinoma and none in the benign cases. High KLF4 expression occurred only in the tumor cells and not the adjacent normal cells in mammary carcinoma (P < 0.001). Moreover, the high expression level of KLF4 expression was statistically associated with poor grade, late stage, histological subtypes of simple and complex carcinoma, and shorter 24-month survival. The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis also indicated that dogs with high nuclear KLF4 expression had a significantly shorter survival than those with low/moderate KLF4 expression (P = 0.011).


KLF4 is highly and frequently expressed in canine mammary carcinoma and correlates with a more aggressive phenotype.