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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • canine;
  • carcinosarcomas;
  • mammary;
  • VEGFR-2;
  • VEGF

Abstract

Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) is the main receptor activated by vascular endothelial growth factor -A (VEGF-A) to promote tumour angiogenesis. Its clinical prognostic value has not been studied in canine mammary tumours (CMTs). Dogs with mammary cancer were enrolled in a survival study and the immunohistochemical expressions of VEGFR-2 and VEGF-A were analysed and associated with clinicopathological features. VEGFR-2 expression was associated with VEGF immunoreactivity in cancer cells, supporting the presence of an autocrine loop that may be involved in CMTs growth and survival. VEGFR-2 was also expressed by endothelial cells from tumour vasculature and positively associated with stromal matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), suggesting the existence of a link between endothelial cells activation and up-regulation of matrix degrading proteins. Carcinosarcomas exhibited high VEGFR-2 expression suggesting that it may be one of the activated molecular pathways in this aggressive histological type and that VEGFR-2 inhibitors may constitute a potential treatment to improve the prognosis of these patients. Both VEGF and VEGFR-2 immunoreactivities were independent of patients' overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS).