Subcutaneous canine mast cell tumor-diagnosis and prognosis

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Journal of Comparative Pathology

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The aim of this study was to characterize the pathology and clinical outcome of the subcutaneous variant of canine mast cell tumour. Fifty-three cases satisfying the inclusion criteria were selected from the pathology archive of the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee. Referring veterinarians provided information on outcome. These dogs had a median age of 9 years (range 3-17 years). After characterizing tumours histologically, nuclear expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and Ki67 (MIB-1 clone) was determined immunohistochemically and mast cell origin was confirmed with c-Kit staining. Counts of argyrophilic nucleolar organizer regions (AgNOR) were determined by silver staining. Nuclear labelling was counted in 100 tumour cells. Margins were recorded as incomplete in 66% of dogs, and metastases occurred in 6% of dogs. The estimated minimum mean survival time from date of diagnosis was 1199 days, ranging from 55 to >1780 days. The median scores from immunohistochemical labelling were PCNA 0.05 and Ki67 0.03 per 100 tumour cells. The median score for AgNOR staining was 1.25 per 100 tumour cells. The patterns of c-Kit expression included membranous labelling in 20 tumours, stippled cytoplasmic labelling in 23 tumours and diffuse cytoplasmic labelling in 10 tumours. Age (r=-0.61, P=0.14) and AgNOR score (r=-0.58, P=0.17) had moderate, but non-significant, negative associations with survival. PCNA (r=-0.32, P=0.47), Ki67 (r=-0.22, P=0.64) and c-Kit immunolabelling was not associated with survival. The subcutaneous variant of canine mast cell tumour is distinct in having features of intermediate histological grade and extended mean survival times, suggesting a slightly better long-term prognosis than for higher grade dermal variants. Expression of nuclear proliferation markers is not associated with outcome.

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