Cats, Cancer and Comparative Oncology

 

Abstract

Naturally occurring tumors in dogs are well-established models for several human cancers. Domestic cats share many of the benefits of dogs as a model (spontaneous cancers developing in an immunocompetent animal sharing the same environment as humans, shorter lifespan allowing more rapid trial completion and data collection, lack of standard of care for many cancers allowing evaluation of therapies in treatment-naïve populations), but have not been utilized to the same degree in the One Medicine approach to cancer. There are both challenges and opportunities in feline compared to canine models. This review will discuss three specific tumor types where cats may offer insights into human cancers. Feline oral squamous cell carcinoma is common, shares both clinical and molecular features with human head and neck cancer and is an attractive model for evaluating new therapies. Feline mammary tumors are usually malignant and aggressive, with the ‘triple-negative’ phenotype being more common than in humans, offering an enriched population in which to examine potential targets and treatments. Finally, although there is not an exact corollary in humans, feline injection site sarcoma may be a model for inflammation-driven tumorigenesis, offering opportunities for studying variations in individual susceptibility as well as preventative and therapeutic strategies.

Cats Are No Match for New York City’s Rats

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