Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

First-time application of a PCR-based clonality assay in a large cohort of non-domestic felines.

Abstract

Feline lymphoma, one of the most important malignant tumors in domestic cats, is also increasingly diagnosed in non-domestic felines, most notably, African lions (Panthera leo). The gold standard for the diagnosis of lymphoma is histopathological evaluation. As an additional tool, the PCR for antigen receptor gene rearrangement (PARR) has been established. To support the diagnosis on a molecular level, the PCR-based clonality assay is designed to distinguish between reactive and neoplastic lymphocyte populations. In general, PARR primers are used to target complete immunoglobulin heavy chain V-D-J (IGH-VDJ) and T-cell receptor gamma V-J (TRG-VJ) chain gene rearrangements. In this study, we validated the primer sets used in routine diagnostics of domestic cats for the application in non-domestic felines. Clonality testing was used in 41 non-domestic feline species and the results were interpreted in the light of their clinical history and their pathology. In total, clonality could be detected in 8 non-domestic felines (19.4%), including 3 lymphoma cases confirmed by histopathology. These results confirmed the successful application of domestic feline-specific PARR primers in non-domestic feline species. Diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of the clonality assay were 100% and 88%, respectively. Finally, the overall diagnostic accuracy was 89%.