Nonocular Melanocytic Neoplasia in Cats: Characterization and Proposal of a Histologic Classification Scheme to More Accurately Predict Clinical Outcome

Pittaway, R and Dobromylskyj, M J and Erles, K and Pittaway, C E and Suárez-Bonnet, A and Chang, Y M and Priestnall, S L (2019) Nonocular Melanocytic Neoplasia in Cats: Characterization and Proposal of a Histologic Classification Scheme to More Accurately Predict Clinical Outcome. VETERINARY PATHOLOGY.

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Abstract

Nonocular melanocytic neoplasia is considered uncommon in cats yet is routinely encountered in diagnostic pathology and recognized to exhibit a wide variation in biological behavior. Accurate prediction of clinical outcomes is challenging with no widely recognized prognostic criteria. Signalment and tumor location were retrospectively evaluated in 324 cats diagnosed with nonocular melanocytic neoplasia. Histologic features were described in 141 neoplasms and outcome data were available in 79 cases. Immunohistochemistry using Melan-A, PNL-2, cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), and E-cadherin was performed in a subset (n = 24). Multivariate analysis identified tumor site, mitotic count, and the presence of intratumoral necrosis to be independent predictors of tumor-related death. On the basis of these findings, we propose a novel histologic grading scheme in which nonocular melanocytic neoplasms involving the lips, oral or nasal mucosa, or nasal planum are considered high grade if they fulfill 1 or both of the following criteria: at least 4 mitoses in 10 high-power fields (HPF) or presence of intratumoral necrosis; those arising elsewhere are considered high grade if they fulfill both of the above criteria. Of 79 tumors with outcome data, 43 (54%) were low grade and 36 (46%) were high grade. The grading system had an 80% sensitivity and 92% specificity for predicting tumor-related death in this population of cats. Median survival for cats with low-grade tumors was not reached, and the median survival was 90 days for those with a high-grade tumor. PNL-2 and Melan-A were sensitive markers for feline nonocular melanocytic neoplasia, and although not significantly associated with prognosis, a large proportion expressed COX-2, suggesting a potential therapeutic role for COX-2 inhibitors.