Primary Pulmonary Adenocarcinoma in a Cow


  • Adony Querubino de Andrade Neto Clínica de Bovinos, Campus Unidade Acadêmica de Garanhuns, UFRPE. Garanhuns, PE, Brazil.
  • Rodolfo José Cavalcanti Souto Clínica de Bovinos, Campus Unidade Acadêmica de Garanhuns, UFRPE. Garanhuns, PE, Brazil.
  • Jobson Filipe de Paula Cajueiro Clínica de Bovinos, Campus Unidade Acadêmica de Garanhuns, UFRPE. Garanhuns, PE, Brazil.
  • Carla Lopes de Mendonça Clínica de Bovinos, Campus Unidade Acadêmica de Garanhuns, UFRPE. Garanhuns, PE, Brazil.
  • David Driemeier Clínica de Bovinos, Campus Unidade Acadêmica de Garanhuns, UFRPE. Garanhuns, PE, Brazil.
  • José Claudio de Almeida Souza Clínica de Bovinos, Campus Unidade Acadêmica de Garanhuns, UFRPE. Garanhuns, PE, Brazil.
  • Fábio de Souza Mendonça Clínica de Bovinos, Campus Unidade Acadêmica de Garanhuns, UFRPE. Garanhuns, PE, Brazil.
  • José Augusto Bastos Afonso Clínica de Bovinos, Campus Unidade Acadêmica de Garanhuns, UFRPE. Garanhuns, PE, Brazil.



Background: Primary neoplasms of the respiratory tract are rare in cattle, and they present with nonspecific clinical signs and are usually found at post-mortem. Pulmonary adenocarcinoma of the acinar type is uncommon, and information about this neoplasm in cattle is scarce. This paper aims to describe the clinical, laboratory, and pathological findings in a cow with this neoplasm.

Case: A 10-year-old, adult, mixed-breed Holstein cow weighing 300 kg was referred to the Garanhuns Cattle Clinic of the Campus of Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, Brazil, with a history of decreased appetite, tiredness, weight loss, and difficulty in breathing for two months. The animal had been treated at the farm of origin with enrofloxacin, florfenicol, and flunixin meglumine. The animal’s appetite improved, but no improvement in the respiratory symptoms was observed. On examination at our center, the cow was in an orthopedic position, with neck extension and elbow abduction; and it remained in a recumbent position. The cow had neutrophilia, normochromic normocytic anemia, and hyperfibrinogemia. The body condition score (BCS) was 1 (BCS ranges from 1 to 5), and the cow had moderate enophthalmia, serous secretions in nostrils, tachycardia, and tachypnea. It also had increased breathing intensity; increased breath sounds in the cranial regions of both lungs; areas of reduced breath sounds in the medial portions of the lungs; intermittent wheezing in the cranial region of the left lung medially and in the cranial region of the right lung medially; intermittent crepitations in the cranial region of the right lung medially; reduced thoracic expansion; and expiratory dyspnea. Pulmonary ultrasonography revealed hyperechogenic multifocal structures in both lungs. In view of the severe clinical condition and unfavorable prognosis, the owner opted for euthanasia. Necropsy revealed that there was a significant amount of yellow fluid in the thoracic cavity, and the cut surfaces of the lungs were covered with fibrin and pleural adhesions. The lungs had irregular surfaces with multifocal nodules of various sizes and firm consistency. The texture of the cut nodules was solid, and the nodules had a yellowish color. Histologically, the pulmonary nodules were composed of neoplastic cells. They were pleomorphic, infiltrative epithelial cells with little cytoplasm; large and spherical nuclei with abundant euchromatin; occasional anisokaryosis; visible nucleolus; and numerous mitotic figures. Results of anti-cytokeratin immunohistochemistry were strongly positive for cytokeratin in the lungs and lymph nodes.


Discussion: The diagnosis of acinar pulmonary adenocarcinoma was based on clinical, laboratory, histopathological, and immunohistochemical findings. Clinical signs and lung ultrasound suggested a severe respiratory disease. Pulmonary tumors are usually solid, and they show areas of central necrosis that resemble granulomas. However, the histopathological findings in the current case were compatible with a primary pulmonary neoplasm. Primary pulmonary neoplasms, although rare, should be considered in the differential diagnosis of weight loss, cachexia, and respiratory symptoms in adult cattle. The morphological pattern and the strong immunoreactivity on immunohistochemical examination were conclusive for a diagnosis of a primary pulmonary adenocarcinoma of the acinar type because these tumors specifically contain cytokeratin.


Download data is not yet available.


Andreazza D., Boos G.S., Boabaid F.M., Wouters A.T.B., Wouters F., Souza S.O., Menegat M.B. & Driemeier D. 2015. Caracterização histológica e imuno-histoquímica das lesões de tuberculose em bovinos e de linfadnite granulomatosa em suínos. Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira. 35(2): 129-136.

Baba A.I. & Câtoi C. 2007. Tumors of the respiratory system. In: Comparative Oncology. Bucharest: The Publishing house of the Romanian Academy, pp.01-99.

Barley J.P. 2011. Pulmonary papillary adenocarcinoma in an adult cow. Veterinary Ireland. 1(12): 674-675.

Caswell J.L. & Williams K.J. 2016. Respiratory tract. In: Maxie M.G. (Ed). Jubb, Kennedy, and Palmer’s Pathology of Domestic Animals. 6th edn. St. Louis: Elsevier, pp.495-500.

Jain N.C. 1993. Essentials of Veterinary Hematology. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 417p.

Lucena R.B., Rissi D.R., Kommers G.D., Pierezan F., Oliveira Filho J.C., Macêdo J.T.S.A., Flores M.M. & Barros C.S.L. 2011. A retrospective study of 586 tumors in Brazilian cattle. Journal of Comparative Pathology. 145(1): 20-24.

Luna S.P.L. & Teixeira M.W. 2007. Eutanásia: considerações éticas e indicações técnicas. Revista CFMV. 13(41): 60-69.

Meuten D.J. 2002. Tumors in Domestic Animals. 4th edn. Ames: Iowa State Press, 788p.

Reis M.O., Slaviero M., Lorenzett M.P., Cruz R.A.S., Guimarães L.L.B., Pavarini S.P., Driemeier D. & Sonne L. 2017. Neoplasmas bovinos diagnosticados no Setor de Patologia Veterinária da UFRGS, Porto Alegre (2005-2014). Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira. 37(2): 105-109.

Santarosa B.P., Dantas G.N., Rocha N.S., Rodrigues C.A., Chiacchio S.B., Oliveira-Filho J. P., Amorim R.M. & Gonçalves R.C. 2015. Adenocarcinoma pulmonar em vaca nelore: Relato de caso. Veterinária e Zootecnia. 22(4): 569-574.

Silva Filho A.P., Afonso J.A.B., Souza J.C.A., Riet Correa F., Dantas A.F., Dantas A.C., Costa N.A. & Mendonça C.L. 2011. Linfossarcoma em bovinos no Agreste Meridional de Pernambuco. Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira. 31(7): 591-597.

Sousa D.Z., Rivera L.C., Quevedo D.C., Gorino A.C., Biagio S.C. & Laufer R.A. 2014. Pulmonary adenocarcinoma in cattle. Revista MVZ Córdoba. 19(3): 4358-4363.

Stilwell G. & Peleteiro M.C. 2010. Uterine adenocarcinoma with pulmonary, liver and mesentery metastasis in a Holstein cow. Veterinary Medicine International. 2010: Article ID 540830, 7 pages.

Streeter R.N. & Step D.L. 2007. Diagnostic ultrasonography in ruminants. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice. 23(3): 541-574.

Tamura A., Hebisawa A., Kusaka K., Hirose T., Suzuki J., Yamane A., Nagai1 H., Fukami T., Ohta K. & Takahashi F. 2016. Relationship between lung cancer and Mycobacterium avium complex isolated using bronchoscopy. The Open Respiratory Medicine Journal. 10(1): 20-28.

Viott A.M., Langohr I.M., Vannucci F.A., Almeida A.P., Leite R.C. & Ecco R. 2010. Adenocarcinoma pulmonar em um bovino. Ciência Rural. 40(2): 454-457.



How to Cite

de Andrade Neto, A. Q., Souto, R. J. C., Cajueiro, J. F. de P., de Mendonça, C. L., Driemeier, D., de Almeida Souza, J. C., Mendonça, F. de S., & Bastos Afonso, J. A. (2019). Primary Pulmonary Adenocarcinoma in a Cow. Acta Scientiae Veterinariae, 47.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 5 6 > >>