Characterization of alkaline phosphatase cytochemistry in canine neoplastic and non-neoplastic pulmonary mass aspirates

Jack O'Day, Davis Seelig, Mauren Emanuelli, Daniel Heinrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Distinguishing primary and secondary pulmonary neoplasms can be challenging via cytology, and a rapid, inexpensive diagnostic tool to differentiate these neoplasms is unavailable. Alkaline phosphatase cytochemistry (ALP-CC) has been used to identify primary pulmonary carcinomas in human patients, and we hypothesized it could be applied to canine lung aspirates. Objective: We aimed to characterize ALP-CC expression in fine-needle aspirate (FNA) samples of canine pulmonary neoplastic and non-neoplastic tumors. Methods: A retrospective case search was conducted to identify cases with contemporaneous cytology and histopathology reports from pulmonary lesions, including neoplastic and non-neoplastic etiologies. Slides prepared from pulmonary aspirates were stained for ALP-CC activity, and the percentage of ALP-CC-positive primary pulmonary epithelial tumors was determined. To characterize the ALP-CC expression in non-neoplastic cellular constituents of pulmonary FNA samples, mesothelial cells were also evaluated. Results: Forty-eight canine cases met the inclusion criteria. ALP-CC–positive cells were seen in both neoplastic and non-neoplastic lesions. In non-neoplastic lesions, pulmonary epithelial cells were ALP-CC positive. Eighty-nine percent of primary pulmonary epithelial neoplasms were ALP-CC positive, and no ALP-CC positivity was noted in mesothelial cells. ALP-CC–positive neoplastic cells were seen in a metastatic amelanotic melanoma. Conclusions: Primary pulmonary epithelial neoplasms are frequently ALP-CC positive, but such positivity is not restricted to this tumor type. Non-neoplastic pulmonary epithelial cells can be ALP-CC positive, whereas mesothelial cells are negative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-669
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Clinical Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Veterinary Clinical Pathology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology.


  • ALP-CC
  • carcinoma
  • cytology
  • mesothelial cells

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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