Veterinary oncology: Biology, big data and precision medicine

Vet J. 2016 Jul;213:38-45. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2016.03.009. Epub 2016 Mar 11.


Despite significant advances in both the understanding and the treatment of cancer, the disease remains one of high mortality and morbidity causes in all species. Increases in survival times in human cancer have increased significantly in the past 25 years but most of these increases have been through small incremental changes. For some cancers, e.g. pancreatic cancer, survival times have not increased significantly in over 100 years. In veterinary oncology, there have been major shifts in the management of cancer in companion animals. Increased availability of specialist centres, coupled with changing attitudes in owners and veterinarians, have meant improvements in veterinary cancer care borne from market pressures and increased awareness and understanding. In this review the changing face of cancer biology over the past 25 years will be examined, and the barriers to clinical progress in veterinary medicine considered. Finally, an optimistic view of the future will be presented with the prospect of greater control over this devastating disease.

Keywords: Big data; Cancer; Canine; Precision medicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Medical Oncology / methods*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Neoplasms / veterinary
  • Precision Medicine / methods
  • Precision Medicine / veterinary*
  • Veterinary Medicine / methods*