Benign mammary tumours are among the most common tumours of companion rats (Rattus norvegicus domestica), as well as a major animal welfare concern and euthanasia. The first objective of this study was to evaluate the expression of oestrogen, progesterone, androgen, and prolactin receptors in neoplastic and normal mammary gland tissues and compare the expression of these receptors between groups. The second objective was to determine if the expression of these receptors in neoplastic mammary gland tissue correlates with overall survival and occurrence of an additional mass after initial mammary mass excision. The third objective was to determine if the expression of oestrogen, progesterone, androgen and prolactin receptors was associated with mammary tumor clinical parameters or with the age of the animals. Thirty-two benign mammary tumours were collected from companion rats and submitted for immunohistochemistry staining of prolactin receptor, oestrogen receptor alpha (ERa), progesterone and androgen receptors (AR). Allred score were obtained for mammary tumours (n = 32) and surrounding normal mammary tissue (n = 20) when present. Prolactin receptor expression increased significantly with mammary gland tumorigenesis (P <.0001), while AR expression decreased with tumorigenesis (P <.0001). Lower expression of ERa in tumor stroma was associated with shorter survival (P =.02). Hormonal receptor expression was not significantly associated with age, mass diameter, location nor likelihood of additional mass development. Further studies should investigate the effects of prolactin antagonists in a prospective study involving companion rats with benign mammary tumours.
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