Broad Institute Studies

Mast Cell Tumors (MCT) Update

MCTs are cancerous proliferations of mast cells. Although they can and will spread throughout the body, the danger from MCTs comes from the secondary damage caused by the release of chemicals the tumors produce. These chemicals can cause systemic problems that include gastric ulcers, internal bleeding, and a range of allergic manifestations. We have compared the genomes of 88 Golden retrievers with MCT and 103 healthy Golden retrievers and are very excited to have identified several regions of the genome that appear to be inherited risk factors for mast cell tumors in Golden retrievers. We are now validating these results in more dogs and looking to identify the exact gene and mutation that will allow the development of genetic tests and better treatments.

Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) Update

Hemangiosarcomas are rapidly growing and highly invasive, blood-fed tumors. Blood vessels grow from the tumor and often cause death through excessive blood loss due to rupturing of the tumor. After comparing the genomes of ~100 healthy dogs with ~100 dogs with HSA we were able to identify several areas of the genome that were possible associated to inherited HSA risk factors. Currently, five genes found to be associated with the disease are being searched for mutations. Once the mutations have been identified and their presence in different breeds assessed, this will allow for rapid development of genetic tests for carriers of HSA. 

We are also working with the European LUPA project, a collaboration between 22 institutions in 11 countries, to map more than 20 traits including cancers, inflammatory diseases, cardio-vascular disease, neurological disease and other monogenic traits. For more information please see

More information about some of our projects is available at our website ( If you have specific questions, please contact us at Thank you again for all of your help.

Best regards,

The Canine Genetics Group at the Broad Institute