02920: Continued Investigation into Tumor-permissive Collagen Signatures in Canine Mammary Gland Tumors: Development of Prognostic Markers and Targeted Therapies for Improved Outcomes

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $197,473
Susan W. Volk, VMD, PhD; University of Pennsylvania
March 1, 2021 - August 31, 2023

Sponsor(s): Great Pyrenees Club of America

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Oncology
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One Health: Yes


Canine mammary gland tumors (CMT) are the most common malignancies in intact female dogs with the resulting morbidity and premature death having a profound impact on a large number of dogs, their owners and the veterinarians that treat them. While genetic alterations within tumor cells can promote their uncontrolled growth and ability to spread to distant sites (metastasize), normal, non-cancerous cells and networks of proteins including collagens found outside the cells also regulate tumor growth and metastasis. The researchers’ recent study has identified specific cancer-associated collagen networks (signatures) in CMT biopsy samples that predict clinical outcome better than commonly used markers, potentially improving the ability of veterinary oncologists to accurately predict which dogs need immediate aggressive treatment to improve survival. They have also identified physiologic responses that drive the formation of cancer-associated collagen signatures that promote cancer progression and are optimizing a collagen-containing (Col3) biomaterial that prevents invasive and metastatic behavior of cancer cell lines in the laboratory. The goals of this project are to 1) improve the ability to predict which dogs will develop metastasis by including collagen signatures in a new predictive panel, 2) determine how tumor-permissive collagen signatures develop so that their formation can be stopped or reversed and 3) optimize the formulation of Col3 biomaterials for use during tumor-removal surgery to improve healing and inhibit residual tumor growth and metastasis. Based on studies using biopsy samples and cells in the laboratory, investigators predict that identifying and targeting tumor-permissive collagen signatures will improve both diagnosis and treatment of dogs with malignant CMT and change the trajectory of clinical care for patients. This work expands on Dr. Volks's previous AKC CHF-funded study #02489.


None at this time.

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