The scientists studied 212 tissue biopsies from 200 female dogs with tumors that were retrieved from the archives of the Purdue Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and the Veterinary Teaching Hospital as well as from the Institute of General Pathology and Anatomical Pathology at Sassari University.
The canine slides were compared to human specimens collected from the Department of Pathology at the IU School of Medicine. Mohammed said the focus of the study was not on the tumor but on the precancerous, or preneoplasia, lesions in tissue around the tumor.
"We found that preneoplasia lesions are virtually identical, microscopically, in dogs and women," she said. "In fact, many of the slides were so similar it was often difficult to determine if they were from dogs or people without looking at the label."
In particular, Mohammed said, they wanted to examine each type of mammary intraepithelial lesion for estrogen receptors expression. Recently, scientists have concluded that breast cancer is not a single disease, but a group of malignancies.
"Establishing an animal model is paramount for testing new treatment and prevention modalities, especially for lesions that express none of the targeted receptors, such as triple-negative types, before human clinical trials," Mohammed said.
The team determined that because of the frequency of lesions, their association with spontaneous mammary cancer and the resemblance to human lesions, dogs may be the ideal model to study human breast cancer progression as well as prevention and treatment. Mohammed emphasized that the research results would benefit both dogs and humans.
According to the American Cancer Society, 62,030 cases of precancerous malignant lesions and 178,480 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed. There will be 70,880 women who die from breast cancer this year.
Much of the difficulty in research o
|Contact: Maggie Morris|