Exosomes as Biomarkers of Human and Feline Mammary Tumours; A Comparative Medicine Approach to Unravelling the Aggressiveness of TNBC

Jane Howard, Cathy Wyse, David Argyle, Cecily Quinn, Pamela Kelly, Amanda McCann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Comparative oncology is defined as the discipline that integrates naturally occurring cancers seen in veterinary medicine, into more general studies of cancer biology and therapy in humans, including the study of cancer-pathogenesis and new cancer treatments. While experimental studies in mice and rodents offer several advantages, including a wealth of genetic information, reduced variation and short generation intervals, their relevance in cancer biology is somewhat limited. Toward this end, as the biomedical research community works to make the promise of precision medicine a reality, more efficient animal cohort studies are critical. Like humans, companion animals such as cats and dogs living in family homes, are exposed to environmental factors that may influence the development of disease. Furthermore, it has been shown that the basic biochemical and physiological processes of companion animals more closely resemble humans compared to rodents. Research has demonstrated that female domestic cats (Felis catus) may represent a comparative model for investigation of mammary carcinogenesis, and in particular, Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). TNBC is a subtype of breast cancer that typically lacks the expression of the oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and does not overexpress the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). An exciting and rapidly expanding area in cancer biology is the study of exosomes. Exosomes are nanoparticles released from cells and have been found in biological fluids of humans, domestic cats and dogs. In addition to their role as biomarkers, exosomes are implicated in the pathogenesis of certain diseases, including cancer. This review explores the current understanding of exosome biology in human TNBC, and of the potential benefits of comparative research in naturally-occurring mammary tumours in companion animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188431
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Reviews on Cancer
Issue number2
Early online date17 Sept 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Sept 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Comparative oncology
  • Feline Mammary Adenocarcinoma (FMA)
  • Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC)
  • Exosomes
  • Liquid Biopsy


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