Overexpression of HER-2/neu in Malignant Mammary Tumors: Translation of Clinicopathological Features from Dog to Human

  • Muhammadnejad, Ahad (Department of Pathology, Faculty of Specialized Veterinary Sciences, Science Research Branch, Islamic Azad University) ;
  • Keyhani, Elahe (Genetics Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences) ;
  • Mortazavi, Pejman (Department of Pathology, Faculty of Specialized Veterinary Sciences, Science Research Branch, Islamic Azad University) ;
  • Behjati, Farkhondeh (Genetics Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences) ;
  • Haghdoost, Iraj Sohrabi (Department of Pathology, Faculty of Specialized Veterinary Sciences, Science Research Branch, Islamic Azad University)
  • Published : 2012.12.31


Background: Canine mammary gland tumors (CMGTs) are the most common tumor found in bitches. Changes in HER-2/neu genes in human breast cancer (HBC) lead to decrease in disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival rate (OSR). Previous studies have demonstrated that the biological behavior of malignant mammary gland tumors (MMGTs) is similar to that of HBC. The present study aimed at evaluating the relationship between overexpression of HER-2/neu and clinicopathological features in MMGTs to represent a model of prognostic factors for HBC. Materials and Method: The clinicopathological data of 35 MMGTs were obtained. Immunohistochemical staining with HER-2, Ki-67 and CD34 markers was conducted with sections from paraffin-embedded blocks. According to standard protocols, histological type, grade, margin status, lymphovascular invasion (LVI), HER-2/neu score, proliferation rate and microvessel density (MVD) of tumors were determined and the association of HER-2/neu overexpression with these parameters was assessed statistically. Results: The IHC results showed that 12 (34.3%) cases were HER-2/neu positive. Statistical analyses indicated a significant relationship between HER-2 positivity and tumor grade (p=0.043), which also was demonstrated with cancer stage (p=0.035), tumor margin involvement (p=0.016), proliferation index (p=0.001) and MVD (p=0.001); however, there was no statistical relationship between LVI and tumor size. Overexpression of the HER-2/neu gene in MMGTs results in similar biological behavior as that of HBC; as a result, these tumors have can be considered to have important similarities in clinicopathological characteristics. Conclusions: MMGTs can be regarded as an HBC animal model. Further studies in this field would result in new treatments that could be beneficial for both dogs and humans.


Canine mammary gland tumors;human breast cancer;HER-2/neu gene


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