Foto del docente

Barbara Brunetti

Associate Professor

Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences

Academic discipline: VET/03 Veterinary Pathology


Mammary tumors in dogs and cats

Based on the molecular profile, a new classification for canine mammary carcinoma has been developed and it is assigned into: hormone receptor positive (luminal A and B) and hormone receptor negative (ERB-B2, basal-like, normal-like). In Human Medicine this classification is used to estimate the correlation between the primary tumor and its related metastasis. In order to provide, also in Veterinary Medicine the availability of the latter data, that has predictive value on the estimation of the effectiveness of target therapies, it is of rilevant importance to determine whether the molecular phenotype of the lymph node and / or systemic metastases  is the same of the primary neoplasm. Cases of feline and canine mammary carcinoma will be selected and classified according to the molecular profile and the obtained phenotypes will be compared with the respective lymph node and/or systemic metastases phenotype.

Vasculogenic mimicry in tumors of dog and cat

Recently, it has been shown, in canine inflammatory mammary carcinomas, the existence of the so called "vasculogenic mimicry phenomenon", which is the capacity of the neoplastic cells to form canaliculi or vessels-like structures that are able to transport blood and cells . The presence of this phenomenon in tumors makes them obviously more aggressive, with greater possibility to growth and metastatize compared to other neoplasms that do not exhibit the same phenomenon, and it also makes them unfit to be treated with angiogenesis inhibiting drugs.


Canine and feline mammary tumors

The characterization of the molecular profile of canine and feline mammary tumors is the key to the development of prognostic-predictive models and therapeutic targeted options. This study aimed to estimate the relation between the molecular phenotype primary tumor and its related lymph-node metastasis.120 cases of mammary tumors were collected, 60 cases of dogs and 60 of cats, including for each case both the primary tumor and the respective node metastasis. The samples were collected from both the Service of Pathological Anatomy, Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences of Bologna and by the Department of Pathology, Department of Animal Pathology Prophylaxis of Food Hygiene of the University of Pisa. Immunohistochemistry staining was performed with a panel of antibodies against -ER, -PR, - ERBB2, 5-6-CK, CK-14, CK-19-P63. The algorithm used for the formulation of the taxonomy was based on the modified algorithm by Sassi et al. The first results, obtained on a few number of cases, showed both in dogs and cats the phenomena of concordance (same molecular profile between primary tumor and lymph node metastasis) that discordance (different molecular profile between primary tumor and lymph node metastasis). The latter results are in accordande with the two main theories about the metastatic power: discordance phenotypes are index of a late selection of cancer cells in the carcinogenesis process, while concordance is explained  by an intrinsic and early metastatic ability of the dominant phenotype in the primary tumor. The predictive-therapeutic value based on the phenotype of the primary tumor can be functional only in concordant cases.

Vasculogenic mimicry in canine and feline tumors

From the database of the Department of Pathology, Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences of Bologna  cases of melanoma, gastrointestinal carcinoma, bladder and prostatewill be selected in order to verify the existence of the phenomenon of the vasculogenic mimicry. Cases will be stained with hematoxylin-eosin and in those, with aspects that can be related to the vasculogenic mimicry, will be stained with  PAS staining to demonstrate the deposition of a tubular pattern in the extracellular matrix. The immunohistochemical technique will be performed with different antibodies such as anti-CD31 antibody to demonstrate that the examined vessels are not covered by true endothelial cells. A further demonstration will be carried out using anti-cytokeratin antibodies (in the case of carcinomas) to highlight the neoplastic epithelial cells that surround vessels. Melan A will be used to mark melanocytic cells. Only cases with PAS positive matrix,  negative vessels to CD31 but positive to cytokeratin or to Melan A will be considered as presenting the phenomenon of vasculogenic mimicry.