Man's best friend: what can pet dogs teach us about non-Hodgkin's lymphoma?

Immunol Rev. 2015 Jan;263(1):173-91. doi: 10.1111/imr.12238.


Animal models are essential for understanding lymphoma biology and testing new treatments prior to human studies. Spontaneously arising lymphomas in pet dogs represent an underutilized resource that could be used to complement current mouse lymphoma models, which do not adequately represent all aspects of the human disease. Canine lymphoma resembles human lymphoma in many important ways, including characteristic translocations and molecular abnormalities and similar therapeutic responses to chemotherapy, radiation, and newer targeted therapies (e.g. ibrutinib). Given the large number of pet dogs and high incidence of lymphoma, particularly in susceptible breeds, dogs represent a largely untapped resource for advancing the understanding and treatment of human lymphoma. This review highlights similarities in molecular biology, diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes between human and canine lymphoma. It also describes resources that are currently available to study canine lymphoma, advantages to be gained by exploiting the genetic breed structure in dogs, and current and future challenges and opportunities to take full advantage of this resource for lymphoma studies.

Keywords: cancer; comparative oncology; knockout mice; lymph nodes; molecular biology; signal transduction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dog Diseases / diagnosis
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy
  • Dogs*
  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin* / diagnosis
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin* / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin* / veterinary
  • Mice
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Treatment Outcome