2019 Volume 81 Issue 7 Pages 1034-1039
Canine anal sac gland carcinoma (ASGC) frequently occurs in the apocrine glands of the canine anal sac and shows aggressive biological behavior. The expression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) has been reported in various human and canine tumors. HER2 is a promising therapeutic target of these tumors, and HER2-targeted drugs, such as trastuzumab and lapatinib, have improved the outcome of these patients. In this study, HER2 expression in ASGC was evaluated to investigate its potential as a therapeutic target for canine ASGC. HER2 mRNA expression in surgically resected ASGC tissues was significantly higher than that in normal anal sac tissue. To evaluate the expression of HER2 protein, paraffin-embedded ASGC tissues were immunohistochemically evaluated. Strong and broad staining of HER2 was detected in ASGC tissues, while HER2 was weakly to moderately stained in normal anal sac apocrine glands and squamous epithelia. The degree of HER2 expression in ASGC tissues was scored based on its intensity and positivity (score: 0–3+). Scoring of HER2 expression revealed 6 samples (24%) scored 3+, 14 (56%) scored 2+, and 5 (20%) scored 1+, with no samples scoring 0. In all, 80% of canine ASGC tissues were positive for HER2 (scored ≥2+). Furthermore, putative HER2-overexpressed cells in ASGC were detected with trastuzumab by flow cytometry. These preliminary data may lead to further evaluation of the role of HER2 in canine ASGC as a mechanism of malignancy and as a therapeutic target for HER2-targeted therapy.