Leukemia in dogs is a heterogeneous disease with survival ranging from days to years, depending on the subtype. Strides have been made in both human and canine leukemia to improve classification and understanding of pathogenesis through immunophenotyping, yet classification and choosing appropriate therapy remains challenging. In this study, we assessed 123 cases of canine leukemia (28 ALLs, 24 AMLs, 25 B-CLLs, and 46 T-CLLs) using high-resolution oligonucleotide array comparative genomic hybridization (oaCGH) to detect DNA copy number alterations (CNAs). For the first time, such data were used to identify recurrent CNAs and inclusive genes that may be potential drivers of subtype-specific pathogenesis. We performed predictive modeling to identify CNAs that could reliably differentiate acute subtypes (ALL vs. AML) and chronic subtypes (B-CLL vs. T-CLL) and used this model to differentiate cases with up to 83.3 and 95.8 % precision, respectively, based on CNAs at only one to three genomic regions. In addition, CGH datasets for canine and human leukemia were compared to reveal evolutionarily conserved copy number changes between species, including the shared gain of HSA 21q in ALL and ∼25 Mb of shared gain of HSA 12 and loss of HSA 13q14 in CLL. These findings support the use of canine leukemia as a relevant in vivo model for human leukemia and justify the need to further explore the conserved genomic regions of interest for their clinical impact.
Keywords: Canine; Chromosome; Comparative genomic hybridization; Comparative genomics; Leukemia.