Dogs and people share the same water, breathe the same air, and in some households eat the same food. In addition, one of the most common subtypes of lymphoma, a common cancer to both dogs and humans is very similar. A recent article by in Cancer Research by Richards et al. evaluated canine and human lymphoma to assess for similarities. The study involved a collaboration of veterinary oncologists and researchers from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, University of North Carolina, and Duke University.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common lymphoma subtype in humans and although responsive to chemotherapy, less than half of the patients are cured of the disease. Better animal models that accurately mimic human DLBCL (hDLBCL) are needed and interestingly, canine DLBCL (cDLBCL),, is morphologically similar to hDLBCL and is treated with similar chemotherapeutic protocols. The goal of this study was to evaluate canine B-cell lymphomas (cBCLs) using immunohistochemistry and gene expression profiling. The results of this study demonstrated similar expression patterns such as identifying a subset of dogs with increased expression of NF-κB pathway genes and immunoglobulin heavy chain (IGH) ongoing mutation status, which mirrored that noted in human. The researchers stated “the molecular similarities to hDLBCL that introduce pet dogs as a representative model of hDLBCL for future studies, including therapeutic clinical trials.”
This study is very important as it clearly shows how similar lymphoma in dogs and people really is. Because of this similarity—from what the cells look like under a microscope, to the expression pattern of the genes in the tumor—scientists can use lymphoma in dogs as a model for human lymphoma. The hope is that this leads to more novel therapies that can benefit dogs with lymphoma for the future. These types of studies are incredibly important in the advancement of veterinary oncology and are the supported by groups such as the Animal Cancer Foundation (www.acfoundation.org). Clearly, the strides made through comparative oncology studies such as this, we will make significant strides in our work to better diagnose, treat and prevent cancer in both pets and people.
Submitted by Dr Craig A Clifford
Hope Veterinary Specialists