The presence of BRAF variant V595E, as well as an increased cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in canine transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) are well-described in the literature. The aim of the present study was to investigate the correlation between breed (terrier versus non-terrier dogs), histological grade, COX-2 expression, and BRAF mutation in canine TCC. Therefore, transmural TCC biopsies from 65 dogs (15 terriers, 50 non-terriers) were graded histologically into low- and high-grade. Immunohistochemical evaluation of the intensity of COX-2 expression was performed using an immunoreactive score (IRS). Exon 15 of chromosome 16 was examined for the BRAF variant c.1799T>A by TaqMan®
SNP assay. TCC was low-grade in 20 cases (one terrier, 19 non-terriers) and high-grade in 45 cases (14 terriers, 31 non-terriers). Contrary to humans, histological grade was not significantly correlated to the intensity of COX-2 expression. BRAF mutation was detected in 11/15 (73%) TCC of terriers and in 18/50 (36%) TCC of non-terriers. Histological grade and BRAF mutation were not correlated significantly (p
= 0.2912). Terriers had a considerably higher prevalence of high-grade tumors (p
< 0.0001), as well as of BRAF mutation (p
≤ 0.05) compared to non-terriers. In non-terriers, neoplasms with BRAF mutation showed a significantly higher intensity of COX-2 expression than those without BRAF mutation (p
≤ 0.05). In conclusion, in contrast to humans, testing for BRAF mutation in canine TCC is a sensitive diagnostic method especially in terriers (73%) and may be recommended as a screening test. However, evidence of BRAF mutation in canine TCC is not a predictor for the histological grade. Moreover, a positive correlation between histological grade and the intensity of COX-2 expression was not found. Further studies are necessary to clarify the clinical and prognostic relevance of the elevated intensity of COX-2 expression of TCC with BRAF mutation detected in non-terriers.
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