Canine histiocytic sarcoma (HS) is an aggressive cancer with morphologically variable features; therefore, obtaining a definitive diagnosis can be challenging. Two proteins, IBA-1, ionised calcium-binding adapter molecule 1, and CD204, a macrophage scavenger receptor, have been shown to be specific immunohistochemical markers helpful in distinguishing HS from other tumour types with similar morphological features.
This study was performed to demonstrate the use of RNA in situ hybridisation (ISH) technology allowing single-molecule RNA visualisation in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues as a molecular tool for the diagnosis of canine HS.
Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and western blot analysis for IBA-1 and CD204 were performed to correlate gene expression and protein expression of these two markers in the histiocytic sarcoma DH82 cell line. RNA-ISH for IBA-1 and CD204 was performed on the DH82 cell line to validate the RNA-ISH probes. RNA-ISH and immunohistochemistry (IHC) were performed in clinical HS FFPE samples to demonstrate mRNA and protein expression of IBA-1 and CD204. FFPE archived samples of canine round cell tumours, melanoma and anaplastic sarcoma were used as negative controls.
RNA-ISH and IHC showed moderate to strong expression for IBA-1 and CD204 in the neoplastic cells in both the canine DH82 cell line and the archived canine HS samples. RNA-ISH and IHC showed scattered positive staining in the control tumours samples, consistent with macrophagic infiltration.
RNA-ISH for CD204 and IBA-1 appeared to have a high specificity and sensitivity in our samples and may be an additional valuable diagnostic technique in identifying HS.

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