Christina Marouda, Tilemahos Anagnostou, Barbara Brunetti, Ioannis Savvas, Lysimachos G. Papazoglou, Dimitra Psalla

Cutaneous Canine Mast Cell Tumor: The Use of Proliferative Markers (Ki-67 and Ki-67 × AgNOR) in Cytological Samples for Diagnosis and Prognosis

  • General Veterinary

A cytological grading system for canine mast cell tumors (MCTs) has been developed, but its integration into clinical routine has been hindered due to its diagnostic limitations. The aim of this study was to assess the prognostic value of Ki-67 and argyrophilic nucleolar organizing region (AgNOR) markers in cytological MCT samples and to determine cut-off values for these markers in correlation with histopathological grading. Cytological samples were collected prior to surgical excision, and histopathological samples were obtained postsurgery from 45 dogs diagnosed with cutaneous mast cell tumors (MCTs). The cytological specimens were classified using a two-tier grading system, and their Ki-67 (average immunopositive nuclei per 100 cells) and AgNOR (average AgNOR counts per 100 nuclei) signaling was assessed. Through receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis, cut-off values for Ki-67 and Ki-67 × AgNOR were determined to better align with histopathological grading (classified as low or high grade according to Kiupel’s scoring system). Without the inclusion of proliferative markers, there was a 73% agreement between cytological and histopathological grading. The prediction of histopathological grade was slightly more accurate when assessing Ki-67 and Ki-67 × AgNOR signaling in cytological specimens (75% and 80%, respectively) compared to the initial cytological grading. The cytological assessment of canine MCTs proves beneficial for the initial evaluation, and the incorporation of the evaluation of Ki-67 and AgNOR markers may assist in identifying diagnostically highly malignant MCTs.

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