Nuclear pleomorphism: role in grading and prognosis of canine mammary carcinomas

M Santos*, C Correia-Gomes, A Santos, A de Matos, E Rocha, C Lopes, PD Pereira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
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Canine mammary tumours are highly heterogeneous in morphology and behaviour and successful clinical management requires robust prognostic factors. Histological grade, determined by the Nottingham nuclear pleomorphism scoring method, has been considered one of these factors. Despite the adoption of this method, it is unknown whether inter-observer agreement exists regarding the assessment of its parameters in canine mammary carcinomas (CMC). In this study, the agreement between two observers in scoring nuclear pleomorphism using the Nottingham method was evaluated in 89 cases of CMC. Histological evidence of vascular invasion and/or lymph node metastases (both early signs of tumour aggressiveness) was recorded. For 48 animals, two years of follow-up data were available. Nuclear pleomorphism was quantitatively assessed using a stereological method that allowed for an unbiased estimation of nuclear size and its variability by determining the volume-weighted mean nuclear volume ( vv). Differences between the vv estimations and nuclear pleomorphism scores were evaluated. Additionally, the prognostic significance of clinicopathological features including nuclear score and vv was evaluated. A poor agreement between the two observers was obtained (κ value 0.46). Tumours scored as 1 and 2 presented similar vv values and only tumours that scored 3 presented significantly higher estimates. The vv value was not associated with vascular invasion and/or lymph node metastases, but was higher in tumours that progressed during follow-up. In multivariable analysis, only tumour size was an independent factor regarding evidence of aggressiveness and an optimal cut-off of 2.9 cm was defined. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426 - 433
Number of pages8
JournalThe Veterinary Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPrint publication - 2014


  • Canine
  • Histological grade
  • Mammary tumours
  • Nuclear volume
  • Prognosis
  • Stereology


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