WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Pre-malignant mammary lesions in dogs and humans display many of the same characteristics, a discovery that could lead to better understanding of breast cancer progression and prevention for people and pets, said a Purdue University scientist from the School of Veterinary Medicine.
A group of scientists including Sulma Mohammed have found similarities between benign lesions that are considered to carry risk for developing breast cancer in both canines and humans. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women.
"Dogs develop these lesions spontaneously in contrast to other available models and are exposed to the same environmental risk factors as humans," said Mohammed, an associate professor in comparative pathobiology. "These shared features make the dog an ideal model to compare the breast lesions that will progress to cancer and those that will regress. Such a model will facilitate customized treatment and prevention strategies."
Due to the success of mammographic screening and awareness by women, abnormal cell growth within breast tissues is frequently diagnosed, Mohammed said. These intraepithelial lesions are recognized risk factors for invasive cancer, and their presence affects patient management decisions.
"Once a lesion is identified, it can be treated with hormonal therapy if it is estrogen receptor (ER)-positive, but for low-risk and ER-negative lesions, we can't do anything but wait and watch to see if it grows into a tumor," Mohammed said. "With a dog model, we could study these lesions and test different prevention modalities before it becomes a cancer."
The research appears in this month's issue of the Journal of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention. Mohammed's co-authors include Sunil Badve from Indiana University; Margaret (Peg) Miller, Jun Xie and Elisabetta Antuofermo from Purdue; and Salvatore Pirino from the Sassari University School of
|Contact: Maggie Morris|