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    Melanocytic tumors are an important neoplastic disease in human and veterinary medicine, presenting large differences regarding tumor behavior between species. In horses, these tumors present a prolonged benign behavior, with rare invasiveness and metastases. In humans and small animals, invasion and metastasis have been associated with an Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition, where the loss of E-cadherin expression plays a key role in tumor progression. This process and the role of E-cadherin have not yet been evaluated in equine melanocytic tumors. This study aimed to assess the immunolabeling of E-cadherin in equine melanocytic tumors and relate this with clinicopathological variables. A total of 72 equine melanocytic tumors were classified as benign and malignant and evaluated by immunohistochemistry for E-cadherin expression. A different pattern of immunostaining was found, contrasting with other species. A total of 69.4% of tumors presented raised immunolabeling of E-cadherin, with 70.7% of melanomas remaining with high expression. The typical loss of immunostaining was not seen in malignant melanomas and no differences were found between benign and malignant melanomas regarding E-cadherin immunostaining. The high immunolabeling of E-cadherin may contribute to the low invasiveness of these tumors, and it is in accordance with the benign behavior of equine melanoma and with the genetic factors associated with its development.


    José Pimenta, Isabel Pires, Justina Prada, Mário Cotovio. E-Cadherin Immunostaining in Equine Melanocytic Tumors. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI. 2023 Jul 06;13(13)

    PMID: 37444014

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