Companion Animal Model in Translational Oncology; Feline Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Canine Oral Melanoma

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Original languageEnglish
Article number54
Journal / PublicationBiology
Issue number1
Online published31 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022



Companion animals with naturally occurring cancers can provide an advantageous model for cancer research and in particular anticancer drug development. Compared to commonly utilized mouse models, companion animals, specifically dogs and cats, share a closer phylogenetical distance, body size, and genome organization. Most importantly, pets develop spontaneous, rather than artificially induced, cancers. The incidence of cancer in people and companion animals is quite similar and cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over 10 years of age. Many cancer types in dogs and cats have similar pathological, molecular, and clinical features to their human counterparts. Drug toxicity and response to anti-cancer treatment in dogs and cats are also similar to those in people. Companion animals share their lives with their owners, including the environmental and socioeconomic cancer-risk factors. In contrast to humans, pets have a shorter life span and cancer progression is often more rapid. Clinical trials in companion animals are cheaper and less time consuming compared to human trials. Dogs and cats with naturally occurring cancers are an ideal and unique model for human cancer research. Model selection for the specific type of cancer is of pivotal importance. Although companion animal models for translational research have been reviewed previously, this review will try to summarize the most important advantages and disadvantages of this model. Feline oral squamous cell carcinoma as a model for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and canine oral melanoma as a model for mucosal melanoma and immunotherapy in people will be discussed as examples.

Research Area(s)

  • Companion animal model, Feline oral squamous cell carcinoma, Head and neck carcinoma, Immunotherapy, Mucosal oral melanoma

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