Open Access Open Badges Research article

Molecular portrait-based correlation between primary canine mammary tumor and its lymph node metastasis: possible prognostic-predictive models and/or stronghold for specific treatments?

Germana Beha1, Barbara Brunetti1, Pietro Asproni2, Luisa Vera Muscatello1, Francesca Millanta2, Alessandro Poli2, Giuseppe Sarli1* and Cinzia Benazzi1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, University of Bologna, Via Tolaradi Sopra 50, Ozzano Emilia, Bologna 40064, Italy

2 Department of Animal Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Pisa, Italy

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BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:219  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-219

Published: 12 November 2012



This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between the molecular phenotype of the primary mammary tumor and its related lymph node metastasis in the dog to develop prognostic-predictive models and targeted therapeutic options.


Twenty mammary tumor samples and their lymph node metastases were selected and stained by immunohistochemistry with anti-estrogen receptor (ER), -progesterone receptor (PR), -human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (c-erbB-2), -cytokeratin 5/6 (CK 5/6), -cytokeratin 14 (CK14), -cytokeratin 19 (CK 19) and -protein 63 (p63) antibodies. Four phenotypes (luminal A, luminal B, c-erbB2 overexpressing and basal-like) were diagnosed in primary tumors and five (luminal A, luminal B, c-erbB-2 overexpressing, basal-like and normal-like) in the lymph node metastases. Phenotypic concordance was found in 13 of the 20 cases (65%), and seven cases (35%) showed discordance with different lymph node phenotypic profile from the primary tumor.


The phenotype of the primary tumor assumes a predictive-therapeutic role only in concordant cases, meaning that both the primary tumor and its lymph node metastasis should be evaluated at the same time. A treatment plan based only on the primary tumor phenotype could lead to therapeutic failures if the phenotype of the lymph node metastasis differs from that of the primary tumor.

Dogs; Mammary tumors; Molecular phenotypes; Lymph node metastasis; Concordance; Discordance