Dogs may help scientists unleash the secrets to a malignant brain tumor in humans.
Research across 25 dog breeds has uncovered three genes thought to increase the risk of glioma brain tumors.
The findings may offer clues about how these common and often untreatable tumors form in people, according to the study authors.
Gliomas are the most common type of primary malignant brain tumors in people and the second most common in dogs, the researchers said.
Certain breeds — such as Boxers, Bulldogs and Boston Terriers — have a higher risk for gliomas than others. This suggests a mix of genes may influence glioma risk, said study co-leader Katarina Truve, of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
Two of the genes identified by the researchers have additional links to cancer, Truve and her colleagues said in the report published May 12 in the journal PLOS Genetics.
However, the study doesn’t prove that the genes cause brain cancer, and research in animals does not always translate to humans.
But the scientists said they’re continuing their analysis of the three genes, and their potential role in the development and progression of glioma in both people and dogs.
Along with learning more about the causes of glioma, this research could lead to new treatments for these brain tumors, the study authors said in a journal news release.
The American Brain Tumor Association has more about glioma tumors.