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Melan A as indicator for canine melanomas
Melanomas are commonly seen in dogs and can be highly malignant, if occurring in the oral mucosa. This study from the University of Missouri is performed on more than 300 dogs and gives interesting new insights concerning overrepresented breeds and also immunohistochemical markers for these tumors.

Diagnostic records from 338 canine oral melanomas in 338 dogs received at the Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (1992-1999) were reviewed. Of these tumors, 122 plus an additional 7 metastatic melanomas of unknown origin were selected for clinical follow-up, histologic review, and immunohistochemistry.

Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, and Pekingese/Poodle mix breeds were overrepresented, whereas Boxer and German Shepherd breeds were underrepresented. There was no gender predisposition and the average age at presentation was 11.4 years.

Forty-nine dogs were euthanized due to recurrence or metastasis.
The average postsurgical survival time was 173 days.
The gingiva and the labial mucosa were the most common sites.

Most tumors were composed of either polygonal cells (27 cases, 20.9%), spindle cells (44 cases, 34.1%), or a mixture of the two (polygonal and spindle) (54 cases, 41.9%). Clear cell (3 cases, 2.3%) and adenoid/papillary (1 case, 0.8%) patterns were uncommon.

The metastases of 6/6 oral melanomas had morphologic and immunohistochemical features similar to those of the primary tumors.

Immunohistochemically, Melan A was detected in 113/122 oral (92.6%) and 5/7 (71.9%) metastatic melanomas. Only 4/163 nonmelanocytic tumors were focally and weakly positive for Melan A. Antibodies against vimentin, S100 protein, and neuron-specific enolase stained 129 (100%), 98 (76%), and 115 (89.1%) of 129 melanomas, respectively.
Antibodies against other melanocytic-associated antigens (tyrosinase, glycoprotein 100) did not yield adequate staining.

We conclude that Melan A is a specific and sensitive marker for canine melanomas.

Source: Ramos-Vara JA, Beissenherz ME, Miller MA, Johnson GC, Pace LW, Fard A, Kottler SJ (2000): Retrospective study of 338 canine oral melanomas with clinical, histologic, and immunohistochemical review of 129 cases. In:
Vet Pathol 2000 Nov;37(6):597-608



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