Cutaneous mast cell tumor (MCT) is the second most frequent malignant neoplasm in dogs. It is a tumor of heterogeneous character and variable biological behavior. Despite having useful prognostic markers, such as histopathological grade and proliferation markers, a search for more specific and precise indicators is still necessary. The successive changes promoted by autophagy can directly contribute to tumor adaptation, development and growth, modulating the intratumoral microenvironment and enabling the progression of the neoplastic disease. Beclin-1 acts as an important inducer of autophagy and has been identified as a possible tumor growth suppressor. However, in some cases, autophagy becomes an advantage for the neoplastic cell, which becomes able to activate the dormancy process. Studies on autophagy and the role of this protein in veterinary oncology are scarce. The aim of the present project is to characterize Beclin-1 expression in canine MCTs and to compare their expression patterns with histopathological grading, mitotic index, mortality due to disease and post-surgical survival. Therefore, canine MCT histological samples will be submitted to immunohistochemical analysis for Beclin-1 detection. The percentages of positive cells in each case will be compared with the histopathological grades, survival and mitotic index to determine the potential of this protein as a prognostic marker for MCTs.
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