Gain-of-function mutation in PTPN11 in histiocytic sarcomas of Bernese Mountain Dogs

Vet Comp Oncol. 2018 Jun;16(2):220-228. doi: 10.1111/vco.12357. Epub 2017 Sep 20.


Histiocytic sarcoma (HS) is an aggressive malignant neoplasm of dendritic cell origin that is common in certain breeds of dogs. High prevalence of fatal, disseminated HS has been described in Bernese Mountain Dogs (BMDs). Support for genetic predisposition to develop HS has been presented in several studies, but to date, causative genetic events have not been reported. In addition, no driver mutations have been identified in tumours. Recently, E76K gain-of-function mutation in SHP2 encoded by the PTPN11 gene has been described in human histiocytic malignancies. In our study, we identified the PTPN11E76K in HS of BMDs. Amplification of exon 3 of the PTPN11 gene followed by Sanger sequencing was used to detect the mutation and estimate the prevalence in HS from 30 BMDs, 13 Golden Retrievers and 10 other dog breeds. The overall prevalence of PTPN11E76K in HS of BMDs was 36.67% compared with 8.69% in other breeds. No mutation was identified in normal tissues from 10 BMDs with HS that carried the mutation and 12 control dogs with no neoplastic disease, including 6 BMDs. Increased immunoreactivity for AKT, phosphorylated ERK1/2 and phosphorylated AKT in a small subset of BMDs with PTPN11E76K suggests that a gain-of-function might be mediated by the ERK and AKT pathways. These data suggest PTPN11E76K as an important driver mutation of HS in BMDs. This information may not only aid in unravelling the tumourigenic events associated with HS in BMDs, but also help in identifying more promising therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: Bernese Mountain Dog; PTPN11 gene; gain-of-function mutation; histiocytic sarcoma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / genetics*
  • Dog Diseases / pathology
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Gain of Function Mutation / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / epidemiology*
  • Histiocytic Sarcoma / genetics
  • Histiocytic Sarcoma / pathology
  • Histiocytic Sarcoma / veterinary*
  • Immunohistochemistry / veterinary
  • Male
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 11 / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis


  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 11