Molecular Oncogenesis Laboratory, Regina Elena Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.
The need for more appropriate animal models in cancer research has led, over the past 20 years, to consider pets with spontaneously occurring neoplasms as a valuable and still under used resource. The role of companion animals in the struggle to eradicate cancer can be multiple: they may act as environmental sentinels, help in gaining insights on tumor biology and finally may be enrolled in therapeutic trials which might act as a bridge to the clinic applications. This paper will focus on the most valuable spontaneous neoplasms in companion animals and will analyze the potentials of each histotype as a model for basic research and for new therapeutic strategies. It is conceivable that in the next years comparative oncology will play a paramount role in translational medicine allowing a rapid flow of data from laboratories to clinical application in humans.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Mar;25(1):97-105