Immunohistochemical Detection of COX-2 in Feline and Canine Actinic Keratoses and Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) overexpression and its causal role in epidermal carcinogenesis have been demonstrated in human actinic keratoses (AK) and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). The aim of this study was to determine immunohistochemically the level of expression of COX-2 in feline and canine AK (n=18), SCC (n=36) and inflammatory dermatoses (n=24). COX-2 immunoreactivity was detected in all feline and canine SCC. In all specimens, labelled basal and suprabasal neoplastic keratinocytes were localized within and below areas of superficial erosion or ulceration and only scattered deeper tumour cells were positively labelled.In most cases, positive immunoreactivity of keratinocytes was associated with the presence of granulocytes. COX-2 expression was detected in 3/9 canine and 4/9 feline cases of AK and in only one case was associated with inflammation. Inflammatory dermatoses were characterized by positively labelled epidermal and follicular basal and suprabasal keratinocytes that were always associated with granulocyte exocytosis. These results indicate that further study of the effect of using COX-2 inhibitors in the management and prevention of feline and canine cutaneous SCC is warranted. The association between inflammatory cells and COX-2 expressing epidermal cells opens a new line of research regarding the role of COX-2 in SCC oncogenesis. Moreover, further studies should investigate the role of COX-2 in the pathogenesis and management of AK in animals. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-17
JournalJournal of Comparative Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Cat
  • Cyclooxygenase
  • Dog
  • Inflammation
  • Skin neoplasia


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