MAY 13, 2016 4:01 PM PDT

Scientists Find 3 Genes Linked to Brain Tumors in Dog Models

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
Gliomas are the most common form of brain tumors in humans and the second most common in dogs. In an effort to understand the genetic drivers underlying these brain tumors, researchers surveyed the dog genome and found three genes that could contribute to risks for tumor development.
 
Around 10 to 20 percent of all childhood brain tumors are gliomas that originate in the brain stem. These brain tumors are devastating and rarely curable, with the 5-year survival rate for brain and nervous system cancer around 33 percent. As such, there is a tremendous need for research that can elucidate the genes and pathways involved in these tumors, and hopefully bring about new therapies for patients.
Dogs provide information about brain tumor development in humans
 Humans and dogs share 84 percent of their DNA, making dogs extremely valuable models of human diseases. Researchers often rely on dog models to study diseases such as retinal diseases and cancers like gliomas. Interestingly, some dog breeds are more susceptible to gliomas than others. These include the brachycephalic breeds such as Boxer, Bulldog, and Boston Terrier. By contrast, the Pug and Pekingese breeds have a lower risk for developing the tumor.
 
Recognizing the value of this similarity, scientists at Uppsala University in Sweden set out to find candidate genes that may underlie the risk for gliomas in dogs. They hoped the same genes can inform glioma pathogenesis in humans.
 
“In our study we hypothesized that since the brachycephalic dog breeds with elevated risk are closely related we would be able to identify a genomic region shared by those breeds. The same risk factors for glioma could also be present in other breeds and the way to identify the genomic region would be to compare genetic markers from dogs diagnosed with glioma from several breeds to healthy controls. Based on this we then performed several genetic analyses to narrow down the region in the genome,” said Katarina Truvé, first study author.
 
Led by Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, the team performed a genome wide scan across 25 dog breeds. They used blood samples from 39 dogs with gliomas, and 141 healthy dogs. In screening for genes most often mutated only in dogs with gliomas, the team identified three candidate suspects: CAMKK2, P2RX7 and DENR. These three genes were found to be highly associated with glioma susceptibility.
 
Among the three gene candidates, two have already been implicated in cancer: CAMKK2 shows reduced expression in both dog and human brain tumors, and P2RX7 mutations have been identified in human cancer patients.
 
The team believes that one or more of these genes are involved in glioma development. They hope further tests into the function of these genes will elucidate the mechanism behind glioma formation in humans. Such results could yield new targets for treatment in humans and dogs. 
 

Additional source: Science Daily
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 20, 2019
Clinical & Molecular DX
NOV 20, 2019
New diagnostic technology seeks out cancer DNA in blood
For many cancers, early detection has a tremendous impact on patient outcomes. Yet, sadly, many of the most common malignancies, like those of the stomach,...
DEC 08, 2019
Cancer
DEC 08, 2019
Is there an association between smoking marijuana and cancer?
The controversy with marijuana is only likely to continue as research studies try to understand if marijuana use is associated to an increased risk of canc...
JAN 07, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
JAN 07, 2020
Saliva Test for Early Detection of Mouth and Throat Cancer
“OPC is one of the fastest rising cancers in Western countries due to increasing HPV-related incidence, especially in younger patients. It is paramou...
JAN 09, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 09, 2020
Can Cancer Drugs Treat Lung Damage?
Can therapeutics used in the treatment of cancer be a breakthrough for pulmonary disease? Specifically, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)? &ldqu...
JAN 13, 2020
Cancer
JAN 13, 2020
The anti-cancer properties of bitter melon
New research published in the journal Cell Communication and Signaling suggests that bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd, may have anti-cancer propert...
FEB 09, 2020
Microbiology
FEB 09, 2020
Investigating the Links Between Viruses and Cancer
The Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) has brought over 1,300 scientists together to gain new insights into the genetics of cancer....
Loading Comments...