Immunohistochemical panel to characterize canine prostate carcinomas according to aberrant p63 expression

PLoS One. 2018 Jun 12;13(6):e0199173. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199173. eCollection 2018.


An unusual variant of prostate adenocarcinoma (PC) expressing nuclear p63 in secretory cells instead of the typical basal expression has been reported in men. Nevertheless, the biological behavior and clinical significance of this phenomenon is unknown. In dogs, this unusual PC subtype has not been described. In this study, p63 immunoexpression was investigated in 90 canine PCs and 20 normal prostate tissues (NT). The p63 expression pattern in luminal or basal cells was confirmed in a selected group of 26 PCs and 20 NT by immunohistochemistry and/or Western blotting assays. Eleven canine PC samples aberrantly expressing p63 (p63+) in secretory cells were compared with 15 p63 negative (p63-) cases in the context of several molecular markers (high molecular weight cytokeratin-HMWC, CK8/18, CK5, AR, PSA, chromogranin, NKX3.1, PTEN, AKT and C-MYC). P63+ samples were positive for CK5, HMWC and CK8/18 and negative for PSA, NKX3.1, PTEN and chromogranin. Five p63+ PCs were negative for AR, and the remaining six samples had low AR expression. In contrast, p63- PC showed AR and PSA positive expression in all 15 samples. Only five p63- PCs were positive for CK5. Both p63+ and p63- PC samples showed higher cytoplasmic AKT expression and nuclear C-MYC staining in comparison with normal tissues. Metastatic (N = 12) and non-metastatic (N = 14) PCs showed similar immunoexpression for all markers tested. In contrast to human PC, canine PC aberrantly expressing p63 showed higher expression levels of HMWC and CK5 and lower levels of NKX3.1. Canine p63+ PC is a very rare PC group showing a distinct phenotype compared to typical canine PC, including AR and PSA negative expression. Although in a limited number of cases, p63 expression was not associated with metastasis in canine PC, and cytoplasmic p63 expression was observed in animals with shorter survival time, similar to human PC cases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Dogs
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods*
  • Male
  • Prostate / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Transcription Factors

Grants and funding

This work was funded by The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP # 2012/18426-1; 2012/16068-0 and 2010/13774-6); and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq # 443884/2014-5).