Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 98, Issue 1, pp 115–120 | Cite as

COX-2 expression in canine and feline invasive mammary carcinomas: correlation with clinicopathological features and prognostic fmolecular markers

  • F. Millanta
  • S. Citi
  • D. Della Santa
  • M. Porciani
  • A. Poli
Preclinical study


Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 is an inducible enzyme linked to tumor growth and angiogenesis. Its expression occurs in a wide range of preneoplastic and neoplastic conditions in humans, including colon and breast carcinomas. We evaluated the role of COX-2 as a mediator of angiogenesis in feline and canine invasive carcinomas (IMCs) and its role as a prognostic indicator. COX-2 expression was assessed in neoplastic samples and healthy mammary glands by immunohistochemistry, and related to the following clinicopathological parameters: age, tumor size, histologic type, tumor grading, vessel invasion, estrogen (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) status, Ki-67, HER-2 overexpression, microvessel density (MVD), VEGF expression and overall survival (OS). In both species, COX-2 immunoreactivity was not observed in healthy tissues, whereas 96% of feline and 100% of canine invasive carcinomas scored positive. In queens, COX-2 overexpression was significantly correlated to ER-negative status (p=0.04) and to increased PR (p=0.038) expression, and angiogenesis assessed by VEGF expression (p=0.002). In bitches an increased COX-2 expression was significantly correlated to HER-2 overexpression (p=0.013) and to tumor dedifferentiation (p=0.03). In both species increased levels of COX-2 were correlated to poorer prognosis (p=0.03 in dogs and p=0.002 in cats). COX-2 is expressed in mammary tissues during tumorigenesis and its expression is associated with a poorer prognosis in bitches and queens. The correlation of COX-2 expression and angiogenesis provides support for a potential role of COX-2 inhibitors for the prevention and the treatment of feline IMCs via their anti-angiogenic properties. In the canine species, moreover, COX-2 may be important for mediating HER-2 induced mammary tumors.


angiogenesis cat COX-2 dog HER-2 mammary tumors prognosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Millanta
    • 1
  • S. Citi
    • 2
  • D. Della Santa
    • 2
  • M. Porciani
    • 1
  • A. Poli
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Animal Pathology, School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Clinic Department, School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Animal Pathology, School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

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