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Feline mammary tumours in comparative oncology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 July 2005

Valentina Zappulli
Affiliation:
Department of Public Health, Comparative Pathology and Veterinary Hygiene, University of Padua, Italy
Gabrita De Zan
Affiliation:
Department of Public Health, Comparative Pathology and Veterinary Hygiene, University of Padua, Italy
Barbara Cardazzo
Affiliation:
Department of Public Health, Comparative Pathology and Veterinary Hygiene, University of Padua, Italy
Luca Bargelloni
Affiliation:
Department of Public Health, Comparative Pathology and Veterinary Hygiene, University of Padua, Italy
Massimo Castagnaro
Affiliation:
Department of Public Health, Comparative Pathology and Veterinary Hygiene, University of Padua, Italy

Abstract

Naturally occurring tumours in domestic animals have been recognized as an interesting opportunity for comparative oncology (MacEwen, 1990; Vail & MacEwen, 2000). Cancer is the second most frequent cause of death in humans and the first one in dogs and cats (Jemal et al. 2003). The age-adjusted overall cancer incidence per 100000 individuals per year is comparable in humans and domestic animals, being approximately 300 in humans, 381 in dogs and 264 in cats (Vail & MacEwen, 2000). When analysing the incidence by site, breast cancer is the most frequent (32%) in women, the first of all neoplasia (52%) occurring in bitches and the third (17%) in queens after lymphohaemopoietic and skin tumours (Hayes et al. 1981; Hayes & Mooney, 1985; MacEwen, 1990; MacEwen & Withrow, 1996; Jemal et al. 2003). Several other aspects contribute to the value of domestic animals as models for human cancers (MacEwen, 1990; Vail & MacEwen, 2000). Tumours occur spontaneously in companion animals that share a similar environment with humans and therefore might be exposed to similar risk factors. The high incidence of some tumour types offers large population samples. The shorter overall lifespan of domestic animals associated with a more rapid progression of cancer allows adequate comparison of response time with humans. Biological, anatomical, histopathological, genetic, and molecular similarities between some animal and human tumours are also well established (Hansen & Khanna, 2004). Finally, testing novel therapies is more ethically acceptable when treating spontaneous diseases in companion animals rather than experimentally induced pathologies in animal models. At the same time, there is an increasing interest of owners towards the use of the most advanced therapeutic tools for companion animals despite the higher economic costs associated with these therapies.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Proprietors of Journal of Dairy Research 2005

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