Accuracy of routine cytology and immunocytochemistry in preoperative diagnosis of oral amelanotic melanomas in dogs

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Abstract

Background:

Amelanotic melanomas are one of the most common oral malignancies. The cytologic and histopathologic differentiation between amelanotic melanoma, sarcoma, and poorly differentiated carcinoma is often difficult or even impossible.

Objectives:

The aim of this study was to assess the reliability of routine cytology and immunocytochemistry in preoperative diagnosis of canine oral amelanotic melanoma.

Methods:

Cytologic preparations from undifferentiated canine oral tumors were stained with Giemsa and by immunocytochemistry (ICC) using anti-cytokeratin, anti-vimentin, and anti-Melan A antibodies. The final cytologic diagnosis (including ICC) was compared to the final diagnosis based on histopathology and immunohistochemistry (IHC) results, and sensitivity and specificity of cytologic examination were determined.

Results:

Final cytologic diagnoses of 38 cases agreed well with the histopathologic/immunohistochemical diagnoses, thus both specificity and sensitivity of combined routine cytology and ICC were 100% (95% confidence interval 90.8–100%). Of 32 oral tumors, diagnosis of amelanotic melanoma, sarcoma, and carcinoma was made using routine cytology and ICC. In 4 of 6 aspirates taken from lymph nodes, a preliminary diagnosis of metastatic amelanotic melanoma corresponded with the final diagnosis. Both sensitivity and specificity of routine cytology in diagnosis of amelanotic melanomas were considered moderate (66.7% and 85.7%, respectively).

Conclusions:

In conclusion, routine cytology is a reliable diagnostic method for canine oral amelanotic melanoma and metastatic amelanotic melanoma, and ICC, using anti-cytokeratin, anti-vimentin, and anti-Melan A antibodies, is an excellent supporting method for presurgical diagnosis of poorly differentiated oral malignancies in dogs.

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