Molecular Genetic Investigation of Digital Melanoma in Dogs

Conrad, D., Kehl, A., Beitzinger, C., Metzler, T., Steiger, K., Pfarr, N., Fischer, K., Klopfleisch, R., Aupperle-Lellbach, H. (2022). Vet Sci 9.



Canine digital melanoma, in contrast to canine oral melanoma, is still largely unexplored at the molecular genetic level. The aim of this study was to detect mutant genes in digital melanoma. Paraffin-embedded samples from 86 canine digital melanomas were examined for the BRAF V595E variant by digital droplet PCR (ddPCR), and for exon 11 mutations in c-kit. Furthermore, exons 2 and 3 of KRAS and NRAS were analysed by Sanger sequencing. Copy number variations (CNV) of KITLG in genomic DNA were analysed from nine dogs. The BRAF V595E variant was absent and in c-kit, a single nucleotide polymorphism was found in 16/70 tumours (23%). The number of copies of KITLG varied between 4 and 6. KRAS exon 2 codons 12 and 13 were mutated in 22/86 (25.6%) of the melanomas examined. Other mutually exclusive RAS mutations were found within the hotspot loci, i.e., KRAS exon 3 codon 61: 2/55 (3.6%); NRAS exon 2 codons 12 and 13: 2/83 (2.4%); and NRAS exon 3 codon 61: 9/86 (10.5%). However, no correlation could be established between histological malignancy criteria, survival times and the presence of RAS mutations. In summary, canine digital melanoma differs from molecular genetic data of canine oral melanoma and human melanoma, especially regarding the proportion of RAS mutations.