Research Papers:

Serum SDF-1 levels are a reliable diagnostic marker of feline mammary carcinoma, discriminating HER2-overexpressing tumors from other subtypes

Cláudia S. Marques, Maria Soares, Ana Santos, Jorge Correia and Fernando Ferreira _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:105775-105789. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22398

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Cláudia S. Marques1, Maria Soares1, Ana Santos1, Jorge Correia1 and Fernando Ferreira1

1Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Lisbon, 1300-477 Lisbon, Portugal

Correspondence to:

Fernando Ferreira, email: [email protected]

Keywords: feline mammary carcinoma; SDF-1; serum biomarker; HER2; CXCR4

Received: September 07, 2017    Accepted: October 25, 2017    Published: November 11, 2017


The feline mammary carcinoma (FMC) is the third most common tumor in cat, sharing many clinicopathological features with human breast cancer and thus, considered a suitable model for comparative oncology. Due to its poor prognosis, further studies are required to improve the diagnostic accuracy and treatment of cats with spontaneous mammary carcinoma. Recently, it was reported that the overexpression of stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) has great value in human breast cancer diagnosis, suggesting that diagnostic tools and therapies targeting the SDF-1 ligand can improve the clinical outcome. In this study, we aimed to evaluate if serum SDF-1 levels can also be used as a biomarker of mammary carcinoma in cats and to analyze if serum SDF-1 levels are associated with clinicopathological features, linked to a specific FMC subtype or correlated with the tumor expression of SDF-1 receptor, the chemokine C-X-C motif receptor 4 (CXCR4). Results showed that cats with mammary carcinoma had significantly higher serum SDF-1 levels than healthy controls (p=0.035) and ROC analysis revealed that the best cut-off value to differentiate sick from healthy animals was 2 ng/ml (specificity: 80%; sensitivity: 57%; AUC=0.715). Significant associations were also found between cats with elevated serum SDF-1 concentrations (≥ 2 ng/ml) and HER2-overexpressing mammary carcinomas (Luminal B-like and HER2-positive subtypes, p<0.0001), CXCR4-negative mammary carcinomas (p=0.027), mammary carcinomas with small size (<3 cm, p=0.027) and tumors with low Ki-67 expression (p=0.012). No statistical associations were found between serum SDF-1 levels and overall or disease-free survival. In summary, our results show that serum SDF-1 levels can be used as a biomarker of feline mammary carcinoma, especially in cats with HER2-overexpressing mammary tumors. Data suggest that targeted therapies against the SDF-1 ligand and/or its CXC4 receptor may be effective for the treatment of FMC, as described for human breast cancer, strengthening the concept that spontaneous feline mammary carcinoma is a suitable model for comparative oncology.

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