Cookies on VetMed Resource

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.

 

Continuing to use www.cabi.org  means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

VetMed Resource

Veterinary information to support practice, based on evidence and continuing education

Sign up to receive our Veterinary & Animal Sciences e-newsletter, book alerts and offers direct to your inbox.

News Article

Canine osteosarcoma: study of breed-associated risk and protection


Study findings could inform future breed health reforms as well as studies into the way tumours develop from normal bone

Osteosarcoma is known to be more common in certain breeds of dogs than others. A study published in Canine Medicine and Genetics has now confirmed that larger breeds, such as Rottweiler, Great Dane and Rhodesian Ridgeback, have a greater risk of osteosarcoma than smaller breeds, as well as showing that breeds with shorter skulls and legs have lower osteosarcoma risk.

The study led by the University of Bristol Veterinary School in collaboration with Cardiff University and Royal Veterinary College (RVC) used data from VetCompass™ and Veterinary Pathology Group (VPG) histology. The study included 1,756 laboratory-confirmed osteosarcoma cases in dogs compared with 905,211 dogs under veterinary care in the VetCompass™ database during 2016.

The research team found twenty-seven breeds, mainly larger breeds, had an increased risk of osteosarcoma compared to crossbreeds. Thirty breeds, mainly smaller breeds, including Jack Russell, Border Terrier, Bichon Frise, French Bulldog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, had reduced risk of osteosarcoma compared to crossbreeds.

The study also compared various measures of body mass and leg length, and confirmed previous findings that heavier dogs with longer legs and longer skull shapes are at greatest risk of bone tumours. The results could inform breed health reforms, especially in predisposed breeds such as the Rottweiler, Great Dane and Rhodesian Ridgeback, Mastiff and German Pointer. Whereas previous studies have identified high-risk breeds for bone tumours, this paper is novel by being able to identify breeds at lowest risk because of the huge size of the study population. The breeds identified could be researched and compared to recognise novel genetic differences which cause bone tumours.

The findings that bone tumours are more common in certain breeds and conformations indicates that a dog’s genetics play a role in bone tumour development. This link between the biology of conformation and the biology of bone tumours in dogs provides valuable opportunities for further study into what causes bone tumours to develop, and how they could be treated in the future. The study also shows the benefits from studying dogs as a model of human osteosarcoma.

Dr Grace Edmunds, Clinical Veterinary Research Fellow and lead author at Bristol Veterinary School, said: "As a vet, I am always focussed on improving animal welfare by looking outwards to find new treatments for their diseases. As osteosarcoma also affects adolescents, it is hugely exciting that by understanding the biology of bone tumours, and working with my collaborators in human cancer research, we may make a difference to both canine and human cancer patients."

The research team is currently developing a project that will sequence certain genes in at-risk and protected breeds for osteosarcoma, with the aim of identifying those genetic pathways that cause bone tumours to develop from normal bone. Identifying such pathways will allow new drugs, or older, repurposed drugs, to be used to see if the outcomes when treating bone tumours in dogs can be improved.

Article: Edmunds, G. L., Smalley, M. J., Beck, S., Errington, R. J., Gould, S., Winter, H., Brodbelt, D. C., O’Neill, D. G. (2021). Dog breeds and body conformations with predisposition to osteosarcoma in the UK: a case-control study. Canine Medicine and Genetics, 8, 2, doi: 10.1186/s40575-021-00100-7

Article details

  • Date
  • 11 March 2021
  • Source
  • University of Bristol
  • Subject(s)
  • Dogs, Cats, and other Companion Animals