BACKGROUND: Canine breeds may be considered good animal models for the study of genetic predisposition to cancer, as they represent genetic clusters. From epidemiologic and case collection studies it emerges that some breeds are more likely to develop lymphoma or specific subtypes of lymphoma but available data are variable and geographically inconsistent. This study was born in the context of the European Canine Lymphoma Network with the aim of investigating the breed prevalence of canine lymphoma in different European countries and of investigating possible breed risk of lymphoma overall and/or different lymphoma subtypes.
RESULTS: A total of 1529 canine nodal lymphoma cases and 55,529 control cases from 8 European countries/institutions were retrospectively collected. Odds ratios for lymphoma varied among different countries but Doberman, Rottweiler, boxer and Bernese mountain dogs showed a significant predisposition to lymphoma. In particular, boxers tended to develop T-cell lymphomas (either high- or low-grade) while Rottweilers had a high prevalence of B-cell lymphomas. Labradors were not predisposed to lymphoma overall but tended to develop mainly high-grade T-cell lymphomas. In contrast with previous studies outside of Europe, the European golden retriever population did not show any possible predisposition to lymphoma overall or to specific subtypes such as T-zone lymphoma.
CONCLUSION: Further prospective studies with more precise and consistent subtype identification are needed to confirm our retrospective results and to create the basis for the investigation of possible genes involved in different predispositions.