AKC CHF Call for Participation - Osteosarcoma Report and Call for More Samples

[Tuesday, August 10, 2010]

Osteosarcoma (OSA) is the most common malignant bone cancer in dogs and is an important health concern, accounting for five to six percent of all canine cancers. In the United States, 8,000 – 10,000 cases are reported annually. It is a very aggressive cancer and in the majority of cases, metastasis and death follow within a few months or years. The median survival time for dogs treated with amputation plus chemotherapy is 12 months, with only 20% surviving two years.

While osteosarcoma can occur in dogs of any size, some large and giant dog breeds have a much higher risk of developing OSA within their lifetime than other breeds (three to fifteen fold increased risk compared to the average in dogs) including the long-limbed hounds (Greyhounds, Irish Wolfhounds, Great Danes, Scottish Deerhounds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Great Pyrenees and Borzoi) and Mastiff-type breeds (Rottweiler, Labrador Retriever, Flat-Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, Mastiff, Bullmastiff, Saint Bernard, Irish Setter and Newfoundland). The average age at diagnosis is seven to eight years old.

Finding the cause of OSA requires identifying inherited mutations in genes that may make certain breeds, and certain individuals within a breed, susceptible to these devastating diseases. This is a challenging task that the members of the dog disease mapping team at the Broad Institute have been working on for several years. With funding from the AKC Canine Health Foundation, many collaborators worldwide have also contributed to this effort. Identifying causative mutations/genes will subsequently enable the development of DNA tests capable of detecting susceptible individuals, and individuals that may pass these genes on to offspring. This will allow owners/veterinarians to more closely follow the susceptible dogs for tumor occurrence before possible life-threatening symptoms. Identification of the genetic basis of OSA will also allow scientists to better understand the biology of the disease, which long term may lead to the development of preventative measures and effective new treatments.

OSA Mapping Project Status Update

Researchers have been working very hard to collect sufficient number of cases and control dogs in the past few years. They are happy to report that they have just analyzed 155 OSA cases and 120 controls (Greyhounds) with the latest genome-wide screening technology. The results look very promising with one major gene and several additional genes contributing to the disease. Targeted sequence to find the actual mutations is currently ongoing. In parallel, two additional breeds, Rottweilers and Irish Wolfhounds, will also be analyzed this summer. To power these studies even more strongly, the researchers request more cases and controls from all three breeds.

In addition, they would like dogs with osteosarcoma from all breeds since they expect to examine many dog breeds for the presence of the Greyhound osteosarcoma mutations shortly. Therefore, please read on and learn how you can help them succeed in identifying mutations that give dogs the susceptibility for osteosarcoma.

How to participate in the cancer mapping projects:

Investigators are enrolling all purebred dogs that fall into any of the following categories:

1) Have been diagnosed with OSA
2) Over eight years old and without cancer
3) Have other types of cancer/hereditary diseases (see the comprehensive list at Dog DNA)

Researchers need 5ml (=1 teaspoon) of blood in a purple top tube (EDTA tube). The sample can be mailed in at room temperature, as long as it arrives within a week from the time it was taken. A consent form signed by the owner must be sent in with the sample. The consent form can be found at Dog DNA along with more detailed instructions. You can also contact the investigators by e-mail dog-info@broadinstitute.org. If you are also able to donate a sample from your dog's tumor in addition to the blood please contact the Modiano lab at the University of Minnesota by emailing Mitzi Lewellen , call the lab (612-626-6890), or email the website contact lab@modianolab.org. All samples sent to Dr. Modiano's lab will be shared with the Broad Institute and with Dr. Matthew Breen's laboratory at North Carolina State University.

All the information regarding your dog is kept strictly confidential, and the genetic disposition of any dog will never be made public. We are looking forward to your participation!!!