Acta Vet. Brno 2021, 90: 191-200

Determining the expression levels of circulating tumour cell markers in canine mammary tumours

Zeynep Günay Uçmak1, Özlem Timirci Kahraman2, Güldal İnal Gültekin3, Sevgin Değirmencioğlu4, İlhan Yaylım2, Kazım Güvenç1

1Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Istanbul, Turkey
2Istanbul University, Aziz Sancar Institute of Experimental Medicine, Department of Molecular Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey
3Istanbul Okan University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Physiology, Istanbul, Turkey
4Istanbul Arel University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry, Istanbul, Turkey

Received December 28, 2020
Accepted May 26, 2021

Detection of the circulating tumour cells (CTC) in dogs with a mammary tumour is a useful tool to reveal the micrometastases long before metastases are recognised clinically. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), claudin 7 (CLND7) and epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EPCAM) with the clinical indices and to reveal the diagnostic importance of these biomarkers in canine mammary tumours (CMTs). Peripheral blood (PB) samples were collected from 45 bitches (group MT) which had single mass with malignant epithelial tumours and 9 healthy bitches (group H). Real time PCR (rt-PCR) was performed to determine the expression levels of EGFR, CLDN7, and EPCAM. Mean values of EGFR and CLDN7 expressions were significantly higher in group MT compared to group H (P < 0.01 and P < 0.001, respectively). The expression level of CLDN7 was positively correlated with EGFR and EPCAM (P < 0.001 and P < 0.05, respectively). The EPCAM expression was associated with increased tumour size (P < 0.05) and EPCAM tended to decrease in the presence of skin ulceration on tumour (P = 0.05). Furthermore, expression levels of EGFR in intact dogs were significantly higher compared to spayed dogs in group MT (P < 0.01). The EGFR expression was significantly higher in the presence of metastases (P < 0.05). Also, increased EGFR was determined in grade 2 compared to grade 1 (P < 0.05). In conclusion, these results show that EGFR, CLDN7, EPCAM markers are measureable in PB and they may provide valuable information about the clinical pathophysiology of CMT.


This study was summarized from the first author’s PhD Thesis which was supported by the Scientific Research Found of Istanbul University with project number: 31510.


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