Moderate to strong immunohistochemical metallothionein (MT) positivity (MT expression) is associated with a poor prognosis in some human tumours. The aim of this study was to determine MT expression in mammary tumours and cutaneous melanomas in dogs and cats. Canine (67) and feline (47) mammary tumours, and cutaneous melanomas (canine 40, feline 26) were immunolabelled with MT monoclonal antibody E9. The overall incidence of MT expression of these tumours was similar to that observed in various human neoplasms. However, a striking interspecies difference was detected. In dogs, MT expression occurred in 100% of benign and 57% of malignant mammary tumours. In cats, however, 30% of malignant mammary tumours expressed MT but benign mammary tumours and cases of fibroadenomatous hyperplasia did not. Moderate to strong MT immunoreactivity was detected in 30% of benign and 25% of malignant cutaneous melanomas in dogs, and in 6% of malignant melanomas in cats. The findings in feline mammary tumours resembled findings reported in human breast cancer, but the cause of tumour-associated MT expression is unknown. Studies are in progress to determine whether the MT state (apo [metal-free] or holo [metal-bound]) accounts for the paradoxical association of MT expression with individual types of tumours and the animal species in which they arise.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine