Toward More Accurate Diagnoses of Sarcomas

Researchers at North Carolina State University are hoping for a breakthrough in a study designed to distinguish spontaneous sarcomas from injection site-associated sarcomas (ISASs). Each year about 22,000 cats in the U.S. appear to develop sarcomas, or malignant tumors, at the site of a vaccination or other injection, according to the Morris Animal Foundation, which is funding the study.

The more aggressive ISASs often recur. Identifying a sarcoma in its early stages “could provide crucial information to help guide the owner and veterinarian as the best approach to treatment, and in the longer term, help us to understand why these tumors occur,” says Rachael Thomas, Ph.D., leader of the research team. Members use a technique called array comparative genomic hybridization to compare the patterns of chromosome abnormalities in the sarcomas to DNA from healthy cats.

Research on cancer-associated gene defects as targets for treatment will also help advance the study of feline molecular oncology, the foundation says.