The research could pave the way for new treatments.
An international team of scientists, working on human muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC), has found the shared genes which play a role in cats and dogs spontaneously developing urothelial carcinoma (UC).
It is hoped the research will help identify which genes to target when developing treatments for human patients with bladder cancer. Previous sequencing had discovered around 60 genes which could have an influence on the development of human MIBC.
The results could also inform the development of therapies for cats and dogs.
The study, which involved veterinary pathologists from 17 countries, gathered bladder cancer tissue samples from human, canine, and feline patients and matched it with ‘healthy tissue’ to identify which genes had mutated.
Of the 60 genes which are known to mutate in human MIBC, three were found in cats (TP53, FAT1, and NRAS) and two in dogs (ARID1A and KDM6A). The feline gene which mutated most often, TP53, is also the same which most frequently mutates in human MIBC.
Similar genetic events, such as mismatch repair deficiency and chromothripsis, were also discovered in all three species.
The study, which involved researchers from institutions including the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the University of Guelph in Canada, is the most extensive sequencing of canine bladder cancer to date and the first-ever sequencing of feline bladder cancer.
Dr Louise van der Weyden, a senior author of the study, said: “This was a triumphant effort, pulling together veterinary pathologists from all over the world. It really is remarkable to have such diversity in tissue samples, thus we can be confident about the generalisability of our research.
“Our findings show it is good to have multiple animal models for bladder cancer biology representing different driver genes to capture distinct patient populations. We hope our findings will inform research in this area to help not only humans who get bladder cancer – but animals too, as therapies can benefit both species.”
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