Canine Bone Cancer In Dogs Revealed Through Biological Trigger

First Posted: Feb 25, 2015 06:58 PM EST

A recent study shows a possible biological trigger for canine bone cancer. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) have now identified the biological mechanism that gives some cancer cells the ability to form tumors in dogs.

"We found several hundred genes that expressed differently between the tumor-forming and nontumor-forming cell lines," said Timothy Stein, an assistant professor of oncology, in a news release. However, one protein called frizzled-6 was present at levels eight times higher in cells that formed tumors.

For the study, researchers examined cell lines that were generated from dogs with osteosarcoma-a common bone cancer that also affects people with the intent of uncovering only some cells generated by tumors. After the dogs underwent tumor removal, cells from the tumors were grown in the lab.

Mice were then transplanted with six different cancer cell lines. Researchers then looked to see which lines developed tumors and which did not. They studied the differences between them, as well.

Researchers discovered that Frizzled-6 plays a key role in relaying signals from the outside to the inside of a cell, acting as a receiving dock in particular types of information.

These types of molecular connections help to activate pathways and regulate growth. However, if the pathways go awry, it can contribute to the development of tumors and tumor-initiating cells.

"It's exciting because it's kind of uncharted territory," concluded Stein. "While we need more research to know for sure, it's possible that frizzled-6 expression may be inhibiting a particular signaling pathway and contributing to the formation of tumor-initiating cells."

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the journal Veterinary and Comparative Oncology.

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