BMC veterinary research

Reduced canine BRCA2 expression levels in mammary gland tumors.

PMID 26202431


Mammary tumors are the most common tumor type in intact female dogs. Recently, the breast cancer 2 early onset (BRCA2) gene was proposed to be associated with tumorigenesis in dogs. The expression level of BRCA2 is important for its DNA repair function in mammalian cells, and its expression level is linked to tumorigenesis in mammary tissue. However, the expression of canine BRCA2 in mammary tumors is unclear. BRCA2 mRNA levels were compared between seven mammary gland samples and seventeen mammary tumor samples isolated from dogs. The expression level of canine BRCA2 in mammary tumor samples was lower than levels in mammary gland samples. We attempted to identify why the BRCA2 expression level was decreased in mammary tumor samples by promoter sequencing analysis; however, we did not find any mutations in the canine BRCA2 promoter that altered BRCA2 transcription levels. We did detect two types of BRCA2 splice variants in 8 mammary tumor samples. One of the variants induced a frame-shift mutation that could lead to nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, a ubiquitous cellular mechanism that eliminates mRNA containing a premature termination codon. Reduced expression of canine BRCA2 mRNA in mammary tumor samples is a possible mechanism to explain mammary tumor development in dogs. One possible reason for reduced BRCA2 mRNA levels in these tumor samples was nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, not mutations in the BRCA2 promoter region. While it remains unclear why canine BRCA2 expression levels are reduced in mammary tumor samples, this study found that the expression level of BRCA2 was associated with canine mammary tumorigenesis.