Bcl-2 expression and prognostic significance in feline invasive mammary carcinomas: a retrospective observational study

Elie Dagher 1 Jérôme Abadie 2, 1 Delphine Loussouarn 2, 3 Dominique Fanuel 1 Mario Campone 2, 4 Frédérique Nguyen 2, 1, 4, *
* Corresponding author
1 AMaROC - Animaux Modèles pour la Recherche en Oncologie [Nantes]
ONIRIS - Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire, Agroalimentaire et de l'alimentation Nantes-Atlantique
2 CRCINA - Département ONCO - Equipe 8 - Stress Adaptation and Tumor Escape in breast cancer - SATE
CRCINA - Centre de recherche de Cancérologie et d'Immunologie / Nantes - Angers
Abstract : BACKGROUND: Cats spontaneously develop invasive mammary carcinomas with high clinical aggressiveness, and are considered relevant animal models for human breast cancer. Bcl-2 is an anti-apoptotic pro-survival protein, whose expression is associated with a favorable outcome in human breast cancer. The aim of our study was to determine the frequency of Bcl-2 expression in feline invasive mammary carcinomas (FMCs), its relationship with other clinicopathologic variables, and its prognostic value. This retrospective study included 180 FMCs, diagnosed in female cats treated by surgery only, with a 2-year follow-up post-mastectomy. Bcl-2, ER, PR, Ki-67, HER2, and CK5/6 expression were determined by automated immunohistochemistry. A receiver-operating-characteristic curve was used to set the threshold for Bcl-2 positivity. RESULTS: The cohort comprises 32% (57/180) luminal FMCs defined by ER and/or PR positivity, and 68% (123/180) triple-negative FMCs (negative for ER, PR, and HER2). Bcl-2 expression was considered as positive when at least 65% of tumor cells were immunohistochemically stained. Thirty-one out of 180 FMCs (17%) were Bcl-2-positive. There was no significant association between Bcl-2 expression, and the tumor size, nodal stage, histological grade, or ER, PR, Ki-67, HER2, and CK5/6 expression. By multivariate survival analysis (Cox proportional-hazards regression), Bcl-2 positivity in FMCs was associated with longer disease-free interval (p = 0.005, HR = 0.38), overall survival (p = 0.028, HR = 0.61), and cancer-specific survival (p = 0.019, HR = 0.54) independently of other powerful prognostic factors such as pathologic tumor size, pathologic nodal stage, and distant metastasis. The positive prognostic value of Bcl-2 was confirmed in both luminal FMCs, of which 9/57 (16%) were Bcl-2-positive, and in basal-like triple-negative (ER-, PR-, HER2-, CK5/6+) FMCs, of which 14/76 (18%) were Bcl-2-positive. CONCLUSIONS: Compared to human breast cancer, Bcl-2 positivity in feline invasive mammary carcinomas is also associated with better outcome, but is less common, and not associated with ER, PR, and HER2 expression. Cats with spontaneous Bcl-2-positive FMCs could be useful in preclinical trials evaluating anti-Bcl-2 strategies for chemoresistant luminal or triple-negative breast cancers.
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Elie Dagher, Jérôme Abadie, Delphine Loussouarn, Dominique Fanuel, Mario Campone, et al.. Bcl-2 expression and prognostic significance in feline invasive mammary carcinomas: a retrospective observational study. BMC Veterinary Research, BioMed Central, 2019, 15 (1), pp.25. ⟨10.1186/s12917-018-1772-x⟩. ⟨inserm-01991065⟩

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