Open Access Research article

Versican expression in canine carcinomas in benign mixed tumours: is there an association with clinical pathological factors, invasion and overall survival?

Karine A Damasceno1, Angélica C Bertagnolli2, Alessandra Estrela-Lima3, Lorena GR Ribeiro3, Bruna S Rabelo1, Cecília B Campos1, André LB Barros4 and Geovanni D Cassali1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of General Pathology, Biological Sciences Institute, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

2 Fepagro Animal Health, Desidério Finamor Institute of Veterinary Research (IPVDF), Eldorado do Sul, RS, Brazil

3 Department of Pathology and Clinics, School of Veterinary Medicine and Zootechny, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, BA, Brazil

4 Department of Clinical and Toxicological Analyses, School of Pharmacy, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

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Citation and License

BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:195  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-195

Published: 20 October 2012



Components of the extracellular matrix have been studied in an attempt to elucidate the mechanisms involved in the biological behaviour of tumours. The presence of the proteoglycan versican has been strongly associated with cancer development and progression. However, relationship between versican expression and clinical pathological factors and overall survival has not been previously studied in veterinary medicine. Carcinomas in benign mixed tumours (CBMTs) are one of the most common malignant tumours in female canines and can serve as models for studies of tumour progression. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of versican in in situ and invasive carcinomatous areas of canine CBMTs and to evaluate possible associations of versican expression with other classic prognostic factors and overall survival.


Clinical staging; histological grade determination; immunohistochemical staining for versican, E-cadherin and Ki-67; and confirmation of invasion areas by staining for p63 and smooth muscle α-actin (α-SMA) were performed on 49 canine cases of CBMT. Tumour invasion was considered when suspicious Haematoxylin-Eosin (HE)-stained areas showed a total loss of α-SMA and p63 immunoreactivity. Versican immunoreactivity was less intense in the areas adjacent to the in situ carcinomatous regions, compared to invasive regions, which showed extensive and strong staining.


Our data reveal that in canine CBMTs, versican expression differs significantly between invasive and in situ areas, suggesting a role for this molecule in tumour progression. Although a direct relationship exists between versican and invasiveness, our results indicate that the isolated evaluation of this proteoglycan does not represent an independent prognostic factor in canine CBMTs.

Versican; Mixed tumour; Carcinoma; Invasion; Canine