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Vet Pathol. 2011 Jan;48(1):313-21. doi: 10.1177/0300985810369901. Epub 2010 Jun 22.

Increased presence of stromal myofibroblasts and tenascin-C with malignant progression in canine mammary tumors.

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University, 1-7-1, Kyonan-cho, Musashino, Tokyo 180-8602, Japan.


The aims of this study were to determine whether the appearance of stromal myofibroblasts and the expression of tenascin-C (Tn-C) correlate with the grade of malignancy in canine mammary tumors and to determine the main cellular source of Tn-C in these tumors. Single or double immunostaining using antibodies against α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and Tn-C was performed on serial sections of normal canine mammary glands as well as those with lobular hyperplasia, simple adenoma, and simple carcinoma. Thirty-nine of 42 simple carcinomas (93%) exhibited stromal α-SMA-positive myofibroblasts and Tn-C expression. Only 6 of 11 cases of simple adenoma (55%) showed these changes, whereas no changes were observed in normal mammary gland tissue or cases of lobular hyperplasia. The distribution of stromal Tn-C correlated with the presence of myofibroblasts. However, Tn-C immunoreactivity was also occasionally observed in the basement membrane zone surrounding the myoepithelial layer in normal tissue, benign lesions, and tubulopapillary carcinomas. This pattern of staining was not related to the presence of myofibroblasts. The appearance of stromal myofibroblasts and expression of Tn-C were significantly correlated with higher histological grades of malignancy and vascular/lymphatic invasion in simple carcinomas. Stromal myofibroblasts appear to be a major cellular source of Tn-C and play an important role in the development of canine mammary tumors. The Tn-C expressed in the basement membrane zone of normal, hyperplastic, and neoplastic mammary tissue, which is likely produced by neighboring myoepithelial cells, may differ functionally from the Tn-C produced by myofibroblasts.

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