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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2008

Plasticity of Cloned Canine Mammary Spindle Cell Tumor, Osteosarcoma and Carcinoma Cells

Wensman, H.; Flania, V.; Pejler, G.; Hellmen, E.


Female dogs are frequently affected by mammary tumors, both carcinomas and sarcomas. The mechanisms behind mammary-tumor formation and the high degree of heterogeneity are not understood. To provide insight into this issue, it is important to determine the properties of the cells forming the different types of tumors. One question is if individual neoplastic cells can give rise to phenotypically distinct tumor types, i.e., show plasticity. We studied 3 different tumors (a spindle-cell tumor, an osteosarcoma, and a carcinoma) and followed the change of lineage marker expression between the primary canine mammary tumors, the clones derived from the corresponding tumors and ill tumors generated after inoculation of tumor clones into nude mice (n = 75). Inoculation of clones derived from the spindle-cell tumor gave rise to spindle-cell tumors in nude mice. Several of these contained bone tissue, a sign of plasticity. Clones derived from the osteosarcoma were negative for a panel of lineage markers but, when inoculated into nude mice, they were able to form bone, again a sign of plasticity. In contrast to the primary carcinoma, most of the clones derived thereof lacked keratin expression, but keratin expression was recovered in most of the tumors formed after inoculation of clones into nude mice. Moreover, tumors generated from the carcinoma clones, in Contrast to the primary tumor, were positive for smooth-muscle-cell markers. Our results point to plasticity in canine mammary tumors, as shown both by morphologic criteria and by expression patterns for lineage specific markers.


Canine; mammary tumor; osteosarcoma; plasticity; sarcoma

Published in

Veterinary Pathology
2008, Volume: 45, number: 6, pages: 803-815