01422: Targeting iNOS in Canine Oral Melanoma

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $48,432
Julie A. Ellerhorst, MD, PhD; University of Texas
January 1, 2011 - December 31, 2012

Sponsor(s): American Belgian Tervuren Club, Inc., American Bullmastiff Association, American Chinese Crested Club, American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation, Inc., American Miniature Schnauzer Club, Inc., American Shetland Sheepdog Association, Basset Hound Club of America, Inc., Central New Jersey Hound Association, English Setter Association of America, Inc., English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association, French Bulldog Club of America, German Wirehaired Pointer Club of America, Golden Retriever Foundation, National Beagle Club, Otterhound Club of America, Portuguese Podengo Pequenos of America, Inc., Samoyed Club of America Education & Research Foundation

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Oncology
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Project Summary

Canine oral melanoma (COM) is an aggressive malignancy that arises from structures in the mouths of dogs. In humans, melanomas more commonly start on the skin, but have an aggressive clinical course similar to their canine counterpart. Our laboratory has been interested in two molecules that promote the growth of human melanoma: leptin and iNOS. Our objective in the current study was to determine if leptin and iNOS expression patterns are similar in canine and human melanoma such that clinical and molecular research in this area may provide benefit to both. Tumors from twenty dogs were examined by immunohistochemistry for leptin and iNOS expression. Results showed that, similar to human skin melanomas, leptin expression was medium to strong, and produced by most of the cells in a given COM tumor. In contrast, COM tumors expressed less iNOS. Those with the lowest amount of iNOS tended to have the most malignant features, differing from our experience with human tumors. Additionally we examined several goat melanomas and discovered leptin and iNOS patterns similar to human tumors. We conclude that human, dog, and goat melanomas express leptin at considerable levels, providing data worthy of further investigation into clinical applications. Alternatively, the case is not as clear for iNOS in COM, which may benefit from drugs directed to other targets.


Greene, V. R., Wilson, H., Pfent, C., Roethele, J., Carwile, J., Qin, Y., … Ellerhorst, J. A. (2013). Expression of Leptin and iNOS in Oral Melanomas in Dogs. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 27(5), 1278–1282. https://doi.org/10.1111/jvim.12169

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