New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
Emergencies & Appointments:
Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA

Shelter Canine Mammary Tumor
Research Overview

Our research goals include:

  • Providing care to shelter dogs with mammary tumors that are homeless and without access to care
  • Advancing our knowledge of breast cancer biology by studying the early molecular alterations associated with tumor development and progression
  • Improving our understanding of breast cancer in general, thus benefit both dogs and humans

One Disease, One Health

One disease-one health-canine tumor program
  • Confirmed similarities in risk factors, histology, biology and hormonal dependence
  • What can we learn from the dog that research on human breast cancer cannot accomplish
  • What are the gaps in knowledge?
  • Can dogs help us fill these gaps?

Contact Us

Karin Sorenmo, DVM, Penn Vet oncology

Karin Sorenmo, DVM, DACVIM, DECVIM-CA (Oncology)
phone: 215-898-3383

For appointments: 215-746-8387

Ryan Veterinary Hospital
3900 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Comparing Aspects Between Dogs and Humans
  Dogs Humans
  • Most common neoplasia in intact female dogs
  • Most common cancer in women in USA, 2nd cause of cancer mortality
  • Middle aged-older patients
  • Middle aged-older patients
  • Risk influenced by cumulative ovarian hormone exposure (endogenous and exogenous)
  • Risk influenced by cumulative ovarian hormone exposure (endogenous and exogenous)
  • Diet/obesity linked to risk
  • Diet/obesity linked to risk
  • Express ER/PR receptors
  • Express ER/PR receptors
  • Role of hormonal therapy has been unclear, but new report suggest OHE (ovarian hormonal ablation is beneficial in a subset of dogs)
  • Hormone dependence exploited in therapy, standard for ER/PR+ tumors

Current Gaps in Breast Cancer Research

  • Need: Improved understanding of breast carcinogenesis by identifying functions and interactions associated with the genetic and epigenetic alterations occurring during malignant transformation
  • Need: Enhanced knowledge of molecular drivers behind breast cancer subtypes, progression and metastasis
  • Need: Understanding the role of the microenvironment in this process
  • Need: Clinical (natural/spontaneous) tumor material for research derived from normal breast, blood, primary, relapsed, metastatic and resistant cancers with support from expert within the field of bioinformatics

The dog model and the Penn Vet Mammary tumor Shelter program can help us fill these gaps.

A snapshot of a histological continuum from benign to malignant

  • Sorenmo et al: Canine mammary tumors, a histological continuum from benign to malignant; clinical and histopathological evidence (VCO, 2009, 7(3) 162-172

canine mammary tumor research
A natural model of cancer that offers multiple synchronous tumors in various stages of transformation; a unique research oportunity to study breast carcinogenesis.

Gene Expression Analysis Studies in Canine Tumors

  • Dr. Olga Troyanskaya, Princeton University, unpublished preliminary data

  • Genes differentially expressed
    between tumors and normal tissues

  • Changing gene expression with increasing tumor size

Gene expression Mammary Tumors Gene Expression 2 Mammary Tumors
 Gene Expression 3 Mammary Tumors