PCR and Veterinary Cancer Diagnostics
Pp. 106-135 (30)
Fabio Gentilini, Maria Elena Turba and Claudia Calzolari
Recent advances in molecular biology are providing new opportunities for the diagnosis, prognosis
and treatment of cancer. At two decades from its discovery, PCR with its hundreds of variants and
improvements is still the keystone of molecular techniques which gave rise to such a revolution. Novel
methods and techniques have been introduced in recent years which promise further breakthroughs.
Unfortunately, in veterinary medicine, the unaffordable cost of new instrumentation has delayed their
application and practical use in clinical settings. Nevertheless, thanks to PCR, the exciting era of molecular
medicine has also begun in veterinary medicine. Due to the limited space available, this chapter cannot deal
with all the potential applications of PCR in the cancer battlefield. Thus, the authors have focused their
attention on those PCR applications concerned with for the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer in pets which
are already currently available, albeit not diffusely, at both academic and private laboratories around the
world. In some cases, such as in c-KIT somatic mutations, for the first time in veterinary medicine, a
consensus panel of specialists has recommended the inclusion of a molecular assay in the staging work-up of
a neoplastic disease (canine mast cell tumors). In addition to the role of the molecular biologist in developing,
implementing and refining the molecular classification for routine clinical practice, it is necessary to discover
and validate new targets able to provide accurate information regarding diagnosis, prognosis, treatment
resistance, susceptibility or predisposition to toxicity, or the prediction of a therapeutic response.
PCR; cancer diagnosis; prognosis; lymphoma; Ig/TCR gene rearrangements; minimal residual
disease; mast cell tumors; somatic mutations; telomerase.
Associate Professor, Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, University of Bologna, via Tolara di Sopra 50, 40064, Ozzano dell’Emilia (Bo), Italy.