Background: In veterinary medicine, there is increasing interest in measuring acute phase proteins as a tool in the diagnosis and monitoring of neoplastic diseases. Although mammary neoplasms are the most common type of cancer in dogs, acute phase proteins have not been extensively evaluated in dogs with mammary tumors.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate serum haptoglobin (Hp) and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations in the dogs with mammary tumors and assess their potential association with malignancy.
Methods: A retrospective study of dogs with mammary tumors was performed. Serum concentrations of CRP and Hp were determined in healthy control dogs (n=20) and dogs with mammary tumors before surgery (n=41). Mammary tumors were grouped as carcinomas (n=24), fibrosarcoma (n=1), malignant mixed tumors (n=7), benign mixed tumors (n=6), and adenomas (n=3). CRP and Hp concentrations were compared in dogs with different tumor types and were also compared based on tumor size, lymph node infiltration, skin ulceration, fixation to underlying tissue, and time between tumor identification and removal.
Results: Hp concentration was significantly (P<.043) higher in dogs with mammary tumors (median 2.03 g/L, range 0.09–2.94 g/L) compared with controls (1.38 g/L, range 0.08–3.00 g/L), but the range of values overlapped considerably. CRP concentration was higher in dogs with carcinomas (4.70 mg/L, range 0.63–128.96 mg/L) vs controls (2.11 mg/L, range 0.25–6.57 mg/L) (P=.0008) and in dogs with ulcerated skin (14.8 mg/L, range 5.7–128.9 mg/L, n=3) compared with those without ulceration (2.4 mg/L, range 0.11–30.3 mg/L, n=38) (P=.048).
Conclusions: Serum Hp and CRP do not appear to have value in diagnosing or predicting malignancy of mammary tumors in dogs. Higher CRP concentrations in dogs with mammary carcinoma suggest a role for inflammation in this tumor type.