Epithelial cells adhere tightly to each other by cell-to-cell adhesion and through the basement membrane barrier to prohibit movement. In carcinomas, neoplastic epithelial cells lose their epithelial characteristics and acquire a mesenchymal phenotype during the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) for invasion and metastasis. The aim of this study was to identify Snail expression and examine the role of Snail protein in canine mammary tumour progression. Immunohistochemical expression of Snail, E-cadherin, oestrogen receptor, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2, cytokeratin 14 and p63 was analyzed in 54 samples of canine mammary epithelial tumours (11 adenomas and 43 carcinomas). Expression of mRNA encoding Snail was evaluated in seven samples (one normal mammary gland, two adenomas and four carcinomas) by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Snail mRNA was detected in all samples. Snail expression correlated significantly with histological type, grade and lymphatic invasion. However, there was no association between Snail expression and molecular subtype and between Snail expression and that of E-cadherin. Snail, a hallmark of EMT, might play an important role in invasion and metastasis of canine mammary carcinomas.
- Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
- Mammary carcinoma