Pathological Features and Molecular Phenotype of MMTV Like-Positive Feline Mammary Carcinomas

Animals (Basel). 2021 Sep 27;11(10):2821. doi: 10.3390/ani11102821.


In the last few years MMTV-like nucleotide sequences were detected in some feline and canine mammary tumours. Due to the confirmed role of cats in the epidemiology of the MMTV-like virus, the aim of this study was to investigate the main pathological features of positive feline mammary carcinomas (FMCs). Twenty-four FMCs were collected at the University of Bologna, submitted to laser microdissection and analysed by nested fluorescence-PCR using primer sets specific for MMTV env sequence. For immunohistochemistry, an antibody against MMTV protein 14 (p14) was used. MMTV-like sequences were detected in three out of 24 FMCs (12.5%), one tubular carcinoma, one tubulopapillary carcinoma and one ductal carcinoma. All PCR-positive tumours were also positive for p14. Multiple nucleotide alignment has shown similarity to MMTV ranging from 98% to 100%. All the 102 examined FMCs were submitted to immunohistochemistry for molecular phenotyping. Of the nine MMTV-like positive FMCs, six were basal-like and three luminal-like. Our results demonstrate MMTV-like sequences and protein in FMCs of different geographic areas. Molecular phenotyping could contribute to understand the possible role of MMTV-like virus in FMC tumor biology.

Keywords: cat; mammary tumour; molecular profile; mouse mammary tumour virus-like (MMTV-like).