Scientists have now discovered that brain tumours in dogs are similar to brain tumours formed in human brains and can, therefore, provide valuable clues as to how the disease develops in humans.
A brain tumour usually occurs when abnormal cells form in the brain. Brain tumours are mainly of two types; malignant or cancerous tumours and benign tumours.
The study was published in the journal PLOS Genetics.
Brain Tumour Linked With Genes
For the study, the researchers analysed 25 breeds of dogs and identified that glioma, a severe form of brain tumour is linked to three genes.
Gliomas are identified as very severe forms of brain tumours that are often incurable.
Gliomas are found to be occurring in dogs and certain breeds such as the boxer, bulldog and Boston Terriers, are more vulnerable to developing the tumour.
The fact that certain breeds of dogs have a higher risk for gliomas than others suggested that a mix of genes may influence glioma risk, said study co-leader Katarina Truve, of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
The researchers found that a genetic analysis of blood samples from dog revealed variations in three genes that were linked with development of brain tumors in canines.
The researchers also identified that humans have the same genes as the ones identified by the researchers in dogs.
“Researchers in the consortium are now continuing the analysis of the genes identified, and their functional roles in development and progression of glioma in both dogs and humans,” said co-researcher Katarina Truve.
The researchers were also able to identify a stretch of genetic code that differed between healthy dogs and the dogs that were afflicted with the tumour.
“These results indicate that further investigations of the role of these three genes in glioma development would be of interest, with potential benefit to both dog and human,” said Prof Karin Forsberg Nilsson, of Uppsala University, in Sweden, who also worked on the study.
Two of the genes identified by the researchers have additional links to cancer, Truve and her colleagues said in the report published May 12.
Researchers said that future investigation may yield a better understanding of the causes and potential treatments of brain tumours in dogs and humans.
The findings may also provide clues as to how these common and often untreatable tumours form in people, according to the study authors.
However, the study did not prove a link between genes and brain cancer, and also, research in animals does not always translate to humans.
But the scientists said they will continue their analysis of the three genes, and the role that the genes play in the development and progression of glioma in both people and dogs.
This research study could lead to new treatments for these brain tumours, the study authors said in a journal news release.
Brain Tumour Information
The American Brain Tumour Association has more information about glioma tumors.