Read the latest news and updates from the Werling Comparative Oncology Research Center.

New study published on bladder cancer screening and early treatment in dogs

Scientists in the Werling Comparative Oncology Research Center (WCORC) recently published a new study in the scientific journal Frontiers in Oncology titled: ”Identification of a naturally-occurring canine model for early detection and intervention research in high grade urothelial carcinoma”. Note that urothelial carcinoma is another name for the bladder cancer - transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), a term more familiar to many pet owners. The article can be found on PubMed. The study was aimed at improving the outlook for pet dogs and humans facing invasive urinary bladder cancer by focusing on early cancer detection and treatment in dogs with a high inherited risk for bladder cancer, i.e. Scottish Terriers. This is a unique study in that it focused on finding cancer early before there was any outward evidence of the disease, and treating it when it should be more responsive to drugs. The study was highly successful through the combined efforts of the Purdue team, veterinarians in the field, and the Scottish Terrier community.

Some of the key findings were:

  • It is indeed possible to find bladder cancer early through screening; 32 of 120 dogs (27%) had early cancer detected when the dogs did not have any outward evidence of cancer.
  • The screening approach in this study consisted of a standardized urinary tract ultrasound exam and urinalysis with urine sediment exam performed at 6-month intervals in Scottish Terriers who were 6 years old or older. The dogs with positive screening tests then had cystoscopic biopsies obtained.
  • The response to therapy was much better in the dogs in which the cancer was found early through screening than in dogs that had the more “typically-advanced” cancer that is seen once clinical signs (i.e. “symptoms”) develop.
  • A urine test to detect a BRAF mutation was not useful in bladder cancer detection due to the mutation being present in many dogs that did not have cancer. The BRAF test did not predict the presence of bladder cancer nor the future development of bladder cancer. The BRAF test also failed to predict if the tumor was responding to therapy or not. 
  • At the molecular level, patterns of gene expression were similar between the canine tumors and human muscle invasive bladder cancer, lending further support for dogs serving as a model for the most serious form of bladder cancer in humans. 

Read an interview with Dr. Deborah Knapp, the senior author on the study, and about the features and findings from the study.

Integrated Canine Data Commons (ICDC)

In Comparative Oncology news, the National Cancer Institute has announced the development of an Integrated Canine Data Commons (ICDC). Many different types of information on dog tumors, including genomics, pathology, clinical features, and case outcomes can be deposited into the ICDC. Scientists from all over the world can study the information from dogs and compare it with human cancer patient data from the   Cancer Research Data Commons! This is expected to lead to a much better understanding of the similarities and differences between canine and human cancer and better outcomes for cancer patients in both species. Multiple Purdue scientists are involved in the effort and have contributed two of the initial data sets in the Commons.

Read more at the National Cancer Institute


TanoveaTM is here!

The Werling Comparative Oncology Research Center is excited to announce that we are now carrying Tanovea™ (rabacfosadine), a new treatment for dogs with lymphoma. 

Read more about TanoveaTM

If you have questions about Tanovea at Purdue, please call 765-494-1107  and ask to speak with a member of the Oncology staff.