The objective of this study was to investigate the role of the MET oncogene in canine osteosarcoma. Seven large-breed dogs affected by spontaneous skeletal osteosarcoma underwent en bloc tumor excision. Total RNA was extracted from frozen tumor samples and assessed for expression of the MET oncogene by Northern blot analysis. Five of seven biopsy samples expressed high levels of the MET oncogene; its expression in the primary tumors was comparable with that previously identified in primary osteosarcomas in humans. A lung metastasis from one of the dogs expressed MET at a higher level than did its primary tumor. Spontaneously arising osteosarcoma in dogs clinically and pathologically mimics the corresponding disease in humans. We previously demonstrated that the MET oncogene was aberrantly expressed in a high percentage of human osteosarcomas. The results of the current study also provide a molecular parallel between the tumors in dogs and humans. This in vivo model may be helpful in evaluating new strategies for therapy against osteosarcoma.
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