Circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) has been considered an interesting diagnostic/prognostic plasma biomarker in tumor-bearing subjects. In cancer patients, cfDNA can hypothetically derive from tumor necrosis/apoptosis, lysed circulating cells, and some yet unrevealed mechanisms of active release. This study aimed to preliminarily analyze cfDNA in dogs with canine mammary tumors (CMTs). Forty-four neoplastic, 17 non-neoplastic disease-bearing, and 15 healthy dogs were recruited. Necrosis and apoptosis were also assessed as potential source of cfDNA on 78 CMTs diagnosed from the 44 dogs. The cfDNA fragments and integrity index significantly differentiated neoplastic versus non-neoplastic dogs (P<0.05), and allowed the distinction between benign and malignant lesions (P<0.05). Even if without statistical significance, the amount of cfDNA was also affected by tumor necrosis and correlated with tumor size and apoptotic markers expression. A significant (P<0.01) increase of Bcl-2 in malignant tumors was observed, and in metastatic CMTs the evasion of apoptosis was also suggested. This study, therefore, provides evidence that cfDNA could be a diagnostic marker in dogs carrying mammary nodules suggesting that its potential application in early diagnostic procedures should be further investigated.
Beffagna, G., Sammarco, A., Bedin, C., Romualdi, C., Mainenti, M., Mollo, A., … Zappulli, V. (2017). Circulating cell-free DNA in dogs with mammary tumors: Short and long fragments and integrity index. PLoS ONE, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0169454