Dogs as a Model for Cancer

Annu Rev Anim Biosci. 2016;4:199-222. doi: 10.1146/annurev-animal-022114-110911. Epub 2015 Nov 9.


Spontaneous cancers in client-owned dogs closely recapitulate their human counterparts with respect to clinical presentation, histological features, molecular profiles, and response and resistance to therapy, as well as the evolution of drug-resistant metastases. In several instances the incorporation of dogs with cancer into the preclinical development path of cancer therapeutics has influenced outcome by helping to establish pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics relationships, dose/regimen, expected clinical toxicities, and ultimately the potential for biologic activity. As our understanding regarding the molecular drivers of canine cancers has improved, unique opportunities have emerged to leverage this spontaneous model to better guide cancer drug development so that therapies likely to fail are eliminated earlier and therapies with true potential are optimized prior to human studies. Both pets and people benefit from this approach, as it provides dogs with access to cutting-edge cancer treatments and helps to insure that people are given treatments more likely to succeed.

Keywords: cancer; clinical trials; comparative oncology; dog; preclinical model.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents