Musser ML, et al. BMC Vet Res 2020.
BACKGROUND: Chronic inflammation mediated by the cyclooxygenase enzymes, specifically their product prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), can result in the development of cancer. PGE2 promotes cell proliferation, apoptosis, and angiogenesis through interaction with its specific receptors (EP1 receptor - EP4 receptor [EP1R-EP4R]). In multiple human cancers, the expression of EP4R is associated with the development of malignancy and a poor prognosis. The expression of EP4R has not yet been evaluated in canine tumors. The aim of this study was to characterize the mRNA gene expression of EP4R (ptger4) in canine squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), apocrine gland anal sac adenocarcinoma (AGASACA), and transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). Archived tumor samples of canine cutaneous SCC (n = 9), AGASACA (n = 9), and TCC (n = 9), and matched archived normal tissue controls were evaluated for mRNA expression of canine EP4R using RNA in situ hybridization (RNAscope®). Quantification of RNAscope® signals in tissue sections was completed with an advanced digital pathology image analysis system (HALO). Data was expressed as copy number, H-index, and percent tumor cell expression of EP4R.
RESULTS: In all canine SCC, AGASACA, and TCC samples evaluated, strong universal positive expression of EP4R was identified. For SCC and AGASACA, mRNA EP4R expression was statistically higher than that of their respective normal tissues. The TCC tissues displayed significantly less mRNA EP4R expression when compared to normal bladder mucosa.
CONCLUSIONS: These results confirm the mRNA expression of canine EP4R in all tumor types evaluated, with SCC and AGASACA displaying the highest expression, and TCC displaying the lowest expression. This study also represents the first reported veterinary evaluation of EP4R expression using the novel in situ hybridization technique, RNAscope®.