Detection and Prognostic Relevance of Circulating and Disseminated Tumour Cell in Dogs with Metastatic Mammary Carcinoma: A Pilot Study.


Centro Oncologico Veterinario, 40037 Sasso Marconi (BO), Italy. [Email]


In human breast cancer, both circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in peripheral blood and disseminated tumour cells (DTCs) in the bone marrow are predictive of short survival and may be used as liquid biopsy to guide therapy. Herein we investigate, for the first time, the feasibility to quantify CTCs and DTCs in canine metastatic mammary carcinoma (MMC) with the automated CellSearch platform, which identifies tumour cells by immune-magnetic enrichment and fluorescent labelling. Using this approach before start of treatment, we could detect at least 1 CTC per 7.5 mL of peripheral blood in 12 out of 27 evaluable samples (44.4%) and at least 1 DTC per 1 mL of bone marrow in 11 out of 14 evaluable samples (78.6%). Conversely, we did not find any CTCs in the healthy, negative control dogs (n = 5) that we analysed in parallel. Interestingly, the levels of CTCs/DTCs and the prevalence of positive dogs closely resemble results obtained by CellSearch assay in metastatic breast cancer patients at diagnosis. Moreover, in the canine cohort, the presence of CTCs was significantly associated with poor outcome. These observations identify the first actionable marker in veterinarian oncology to guide treatment of canine MMC. Furthermore, our findings have important implications for human research, since it reinforce the value of canine MMC as model useful to speed up pharmacological studies with primary endpoint of overall survival, given the reduced life-span of the canine species.


animal model,circulating tumour cells (CTCs),disseminated tumour cells (DTCs),metastatic breast cancer,

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