Genome study identifies cause of canine gliomas

Gliomas are the second most common form of malignant primary brain tumors in dogs, and breeds such as the boxer, bulldog, and Boston terrier have an elevated risk, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s EurekaAlert! A new study may help.

Swedish researchers conducted a genome study across 25 dog breeds and identified three genes associated with the tumor. They also suggest that a mix of genes may impact glioma formation.

The results were published in PLOS Genetics on May 12.

To identify genetic variations that contribute to the tumor's development, the researchers performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using blood samples from 39 dogs diagnosed with glioma and 141 control dogs.

By screening for variations commonly found in dogs that developed gliomas, they pinpointed three genes highly associated with susceptibility to the tumor: CAMKK2, P2RX7 and DENR. Two of these genes have additional links to cancer.

Further experiments by the scientists showed that both human and canine gliomas express CAMKK2 at lower levels than normal brain tissue, and previous studies have shown that a variation of P2RX7 reduces protein function in dogs while other variations have been identified in cancer patients. 

Photo credit: © iStock/Marcel-Kaneshira

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