Canine transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), also now known as urothelial carcinoma (UC) is a malignant tumor that is the most common form of bladder cancer. While this cancer is primarily detected in the bladder, it may also be located elsewhere in the urinary tract, including the urethra, and kidneys of male and female dogs and also the prostate of males. The cancer is generally a disease of mid to late life, with over 95% of cases occurring in dogs age 6 years and older.
It is estimated that more than 80,000 dogs will be diagnosed with TCC/UC cancer every year. Using existing techniques most diagnoses are made when the cancer is at an advanced stage and has invaded the muscle wall. In 20% of cases the cancer has already spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body. These features all indicate that current diagnostic methods have very limited ability for early detection of the disease, which may in turn reduce treatment options and lead to a less favorable outcome.
Often a positive detection of a TCC/UC is not made until after 2-3 rounds of antibiotic and/or inflammatory medications to treat non-specific urinary tract symptoms, which may include straining to urinate; repeated frequent attempts to urinate; blood in the urine; and bacterial infection. When these symptoms fail to resolve fully after repeated treatments, the dog is then evaluated for the presence of a tumor, usually via urine cytology, abdominal X-ray, ultrasound, and/or cystoscopy. These treatments are costly and the delay in diagnosis provides the tumor with additional time to enlarge and potentially spread further beyond the bladder.
By the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have begun to spread, becoming harder to treat.
Our research has shown that a single mutation in a gene called BRAF is present in 85% of confirmed cases of canine TCC/UC. With highly sensitive molecular technology, we have developed a genetic test that can detect the presence of this mutation in cells naturally shed into the urine of an affected dog. The mutation is not found in the urine of healthy dogs, or from dogs that have nonmalignant bladder polyps, inflammation or cystitis. It is therefore a highly specific indicator of the presence of a TCC/UC.
To learn more about the science behind the development of this assay click on this link to read the published study (link will open a new tab/window)
All dogs shed cells from their bladder and urinary tract each time they pass urine. The CADETSMBRAF Mutation Detection Assay is non-invasive, and uses free-catch urine samples to identify cells that contain a mutated copy of the BRAF gene, which is indicative that the dog has a TCC/UC.
The CADETSMBRAF Mutation Detection Assay offers a forensic level of detection that is so sensitive it can detect as few as ten cells carrying the mutation within a urine sample. Combined with a specially formulated urine preservation and DNA extraction process, the CADETSM BRAF Mutation Detection Assay offers the earliest means to detect the presence of TCC/UC, several months before any clinical signs of disease are present. In addition, the test is not impeded by the presence of blood, bacteria, sugars, protein etc. in the urine, and so offers the most reliable means to identify the presence of a TCC/UC from a free-catch urine sample of dogs with symptoms suggestive of the cancer.
Detecting cancer earlier – even before symptoms develop – can dramatically change the prognosis and aid longer-term survival of your best friend.
This test is offered in two versions:
- CADETSM BRAF MUTATION DETECTION ASSAY – DIAGNOSTIC/MONITORING: this test detects the presence of the BRAF mutation in cells recovered from urine of dogs that have developed urinary symptoms suggestive of a TCC/UC, and also may be used to monitor the impact of treatment on BRAFmutation positive TCC/UC tumors.
- This test is available from our store as 1-pack, 3-pack and 6-pack options and is primarily intended for use by veterinarians.
- CADETSM BRAF MUTATION DETECTION ASSAY – SCREENING: this test is so sensitive that we can detect the presence of the BRAF mutation in cells shed into the urine from dogs with an early TCC/UC, well before symptoms of the disease develop. This earliest detection allows for early intervention with the most appropriate treatment.
- This test will be available as either an annual subscription or a breeder pack from late July 2016 via the American Kennel Club at www.AKC.org and is primarily intended for use by dog owners and breeders