Malignant tumours are often associated with a relatively high number of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and associated local cytokine production and these factors are thought to play a role in tumour progression. These aspects of tumour microenvironment have not been studied in canine mammary gland tumours (MGTs). The present study investigates TILs and the presence of related cytokines, as well as the expression of breast cancer susceptibility gene-1 (BRCA1), in canine MGTs. Immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction were performed to evaluate these parameters. Three times as many T lymphocytes as B cells infiltrated canine MGTs. A correlation was found between expression of interleukin (IL)-1 and IL-6 and metastasis. There was an association between the expression of TILs, cytokines and mutation of BRCA1, suggesting that all of these factors may play a role in tumour progression.
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