MicroRNA expression in canine mammary cancer. Academic Article uri icon


  • MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are 18-22-nt noncoding RNAs that are involved in post-transcriptional regulation of genes. Oncomirs, a subclass of miRNAs, include genes whose expression, or lack thereof, are associated with cancers. Until the last decade, the domestic dog was an underused model for the study of various human diseases that have genetic components. The dog exhibits marked genetic and physiologic similarity to the human, thereby making it an excellent model for study and treatment of various hereditary diseases. Furthermore, because the dog presents with distinct, spontaneously occurring mammary tumors, it may serve as a model for genetic analysis and treatments of humans with malignant breast tumors. Because miRNAs have been found to act as both tumor suppressors and oncogenes in several different cancers, expression patterns of ten miRNAs (miR-15a, miR-16, miR-17-5p, miR-21, miR-29b, miR-125b, miR-145, miR-155, miR-181b, let-7f) known to be associated with human breast cancers were compared to malignant canine mammary tumors (n = 6) and normal canine mammary tissue (n = 10). Resulting data revealed miR-29b and miR-21 to have a statistically significant (p < 0.05 by MANOVA analysis) upregulation in cancerous samples. The ten canine miRNAs follow the same pattern of expression as in the human, except for miR-145 which does not show a difference in expression between the normal and cancerous canine samples. In addition, when analyzed according to specific cancer phenotypes, miR-15a and miR-16 show a significant downregulation in canine ductal carcinomas while miRsR-181b, -21, -29b, and let-7f show a significant upregulation in canine tubular papillary carcinomas.

published proceedings

  • Mamm Genome

author list (cited authors)

  • Boggs, R. M., Wright, Z. M., Stickney, M. J., Porter, W. W., & Murphy, K. E.

citation count

  • 62

complete list of authors

  • Boggs, R Michelle||Wright, Zachary M||Stickney, Mark J||Porter, Weston W||Murphy, Keith E

publication date

  • August 2008