A multi-institutional retrospective analysis of 330 pathology accessions from 285 different lions found 15 captive, female African lions (Panthera leo) with confirmed mammary masses. Aside from the presence of a mammary mass, the most common initial clinical sign was inappetence. Histologic diagnoses were predominantly adenocarcinoma (n = 12), though two benign masses (mammary hyperplasia and a mammary cyst) and one squamous cell carcinoma were identified. Nine of 13 malignant tumors had metastasized to lymph nodes or viscera at the time of necropsy. Six lions with adenocarcinoma and two lions with benign mammary masses had received hormonal contraception, though little evidence of mammary lobular hyperplasia was seen in association with the adenocarcinomas. The most common concurrent disease processes found at necropsy were chronic urinary tract disease and other malignancies. These cases demonstrate that mammary malignancies occur in captive lions and frequently metastasize.
Keywords: Adenocarcinoma; Panthera leo; lion; mammary neoplasia.