Bringing the Genomic Revolution to Comparative Oncology: Human and Dog Cancers

Annu Rev Biomed Data Sci. 2024 Apr 22. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biodatasci-102423-111936. Online ahead of print.


Dogs are humanity's oldest friend, the first species we domesticated 20,000-40,000 years ago. In this unequaled collaboration, dogs have inadvertently but serendipitously been molded into a potent human cancer model. Unlike many common model species, dogs are raised in the same environment as humans and present with spontaneous tumors with human-like comorbidities, immunocompetency, and heterogeneity. In breast, bladder, blood, and several pediatric cancers, in-depth profiling of dog and human tumors has established the benefits of the dog model. In addition to this clinical and molecular similarity, veterinary studies indicate that domestic dogs have relatively high tumor incidence rates. As a result, there are a plethora of data for analysis, the statistical power of which is bolstered by substantial breed-specific variability. As such, dog tumors provide a unique opportunity to interrogate the molecular factors underpinning cancer and facilitate the modeling of new therapeutic targets. This review discusses the emerging field of comparative oncology, how it complements human and rodent cancer studies, and where challenges remain, given the rapid proliferation of genomic resources. Increasingly, it appears that human's best friend is becoming an irreplaceable component of oncology research.

Publication types

  • Review