Tumour-associated macrophages are associated with vascular endothelial growth factor expression in canine mammary tumours

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Tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs) have been implicated in carcinogenesis including an important role in angiogenesis. In this study, we describe the relationship between TAMs and angiogenesis in canine mammary tumours (CMT). Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded CMT samples [(n = 128: malignant (n = 97) and benign (n = 31)] were submitted to immunohistochemical staining to detect MAC387, vascular endothelial growth factor VEGF and CD31 expression. A statistical analysis was carried out to assess possible associations with clinicopathological variables and biological markers of tumour angiogenesis. TAMs, detected by MAC387 expression, were significantly associated with malignant CMT (P < 0.001) and VEGF positive tumours (P = 0.002) and also associated with VEGF expression within malignant CMT (P = 0.043). Associations with clinicopathological variables were found between TAMs and the presence of infiltrative growth (P = 0.031), low tubule formation (P = 0.040) and lymph node metastasis (P = 0.016). The results support the hypothesis that TAMs influence angiogenesis in CMT suggesting TAMs may represent a therapeutic target in this disease.

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