The hen as a model of ovarian cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2013 Jun;13(6):432-6. doi: 10.1038/nrc3535. Epub 2013 May 16.


The domestic laying hen is the only non-human animal that spontaneously develops ovarian cancer with a high prevalence. Hens ovulate prolifically, and this has made the hen intuitively appealing as a model of this disease in light of epidemiological evidence that ovulation rate is highly correlated with the risk of human ovarian cancer. As in women, ovarian cancer in the hen is age-related and it is also grossly and histologically similar to that in humans. In both women and hens, the cancer metastasizes to similar tissues with an accumulation of ascites fluid. Some aggressive ovarian cancers in women arise from cells in the oviduct; this is intriguing because ovarian cancers in the hen express an oviductal protein that is normally absent in the ovary.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial
  • Chickens*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / physiopathology
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / veterinary*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / veterinary*
  • Ovulation
  • Poultry Diseases / epidemiology
  • Poultry Diseases / pathology*
  • Poultry Diseases / physiopathology
  • Prevalence