Six genes in Bernese mountain dogs, Rottweilers and golden retrievers increase risk of rare and highly aggressive blood cancer, study warns
- Researchers obtained DNA from blood from 300 dogs covering the three breeds
- Found an important genetic risk factor for histiocytic sarcoma (HS) on chromosome 2
- This is a rare and very aggressive blood cancer that also occurs in humans
- Found four other genes linked to the cancer in the dogs’ DNA
- For each cancerous gene variant, a dog has a 15% cancer risk
- Scientists hope to use dogs as a model to learn more about the disease in humans and possibly ways to help treat people with cancer
In the DNA code of Bernese Mountain dogs, Rottweilers and golden retrievers, six genes have been found that increase the risk of histiocytic sarcoma (HS), a rare blood cancer that also occurs in humans.
French researchers found five lumps of genetic code that increase the risk of developing highly aggressive cancer.
Four of the locations are single genes, but the main genetic risk factor is found on chromosome 2 and consists of two genes.
Each of the five sites can manifest in different ways, but all have a cancerous shape that, if owned by a dog, increases the risk by as much as 15 percent.
The more bad genes a dog inherits, the greater the risk of the disease, researchers say.
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Six genes have been found in the DNA code of three larger dog breeds that increase the risk of Bernese Mountain dogs, Rottweilers and golden retrievers developing histiocytic sarcoma (HS), a rare blood cancer that also affects humans.
Rottweilers, golden retrievers and Burmese mountain dogs have previously been shown to be susceptible to this type of cancer, which is responsible for a hugely disproportionate number of cases.
Researchers at the University of Rennes took DNA samples from 300 dogs, covering all three breeds.
More than half (59 percent) of the samples were from animals affected by cancer, and the rest were unaffected pets.
‘This study used the predisposition of dog breeds to decipher the genetic basis of histiocytic sarcoma, a rare human cancer,’ the authors write in their study, published in PLOS ONE
Rottweilers, golden retrievers, and Burmese mountain dogs were previously found to be prone to histiocytic sarcoma (HS), which is responsible for a hugely disproportionate number of cases.
Three of these five chromosomal regions related to the rare blood cancer were also found to be related to other cancers. They increase the risk of lymphomas and osteosarcomas in Rottweilers and mast cell tumors in Bernese Mountain dogs and retrievers
It revealed that specific shapes of six genes were strongly associated with the cancer.
One site in particular, known as CDKN2A on chromosome 2, contains two genes (CFA11 and HSA9q) that are the main culprits that led to the disease.
However, the team also identified four other genes spread across chromosomes 2, 5, 14 and 20.
Three of these five chromosomal regions have also been found to be related to other cancers, not just histiocytic sarcoma.
They were also found to increase the risk of lymphomas and osteosarcomas in Rottweilers and mast cell tumors in Bernese Mountain dogs and retrievers.
Researchers hope that by studying histiocytic sarcoma in dogs, it can shed light on the human equivalent of the condition.
Sixty percent of cases of this cancer in humans have spread and are therefore extremely difficult to treat.
There is no set treatment procedure, and despite aggressive chemotherapy, patients often die less than six months after diagnosis.
Larger breeds of dog, including Great Danes and Rottweilers, are at higher risk for LEG CANCER than smaller puppies, scientists warn
Osteosarcoma – a painful and aggressive form of bone cancer – is more common in larger dog breeds such as Great Danes and Rottweilers, a study has confirmed.
Experts led by the University of Bristol analyzed health data from 906,967 dogs to identify those breeds and traits that could increase the risk of cancer.
The team found that larger, heavier dogs and dogs with longer legs and skulls tend to be at greater risk of developing osteosarcoma.
The findings could pave the way for new therapies for dogs suffering from osteosarcoma, as well as help in treatments for bone cancer in humans.
“ There are growing concerns about the wisdom of breeding dogs with extreme body shapes, such as flat-faced breeds like French Bulldogs or long-backed breeds like Dachshunds, ” said paper author Dan O’Neill.
“This study highlights the health risks of another extreme body shape – a large body size,” added the Royal Veterinary College animal epidemiologist.