• Cancer genes;
  • Molecular biology;
  • Oncology;
  • PCR assays;
  • Renal neoplasia;
  • Urinary tract

Background: Similarities in human and canine renal cell carcinoma (RCC) epidemiology and biologic behavior suggest that molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis may be similar in both species. Approximately 75% of RCC in people are of the clear cell subtype, up to 85% of which are associated with mutation of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene. The canine VHL coding deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) shares 90% identity with the human VHL gene.

Objective: To determine whether or not RCC in dogs are associated with VHL mutations, and if so determine the prevalence, type, and location of these mutations.

Animals: Thirteen dogs with RCC, 2 dogs with primary renal sarcomas, and 10 dogs without neoplastic kidney disease.

Methods: DNA was extracted from paraffin-embedded RCC tissue; DNA extracts from paraffin-embedded and snap-frozen nonneoplastic canine kidneys and canine whole blood were used as negative controls. Polymerase chain reaction and sequencing of the 3 VHL exons was performed, and results compared with the accessioned canine sequence.

Results: All VHL exons were amplified from 9 of 13 canine RCC samples, both renal sarcomas, 8 of 10 nonneoplastic kidney samples, and canine whole blood; only exon 2 could be amplified from 2 RCC samples. Mutations were not identified in any exons. A maximal prevalence of 33.6% for VHL mutations in canine RCC was determined.

Conclusion and Clinical Importance: Although similarities between canine and human RCC merit further investigation of the dog as a model for some subtypes of renal tumors, the lower prevalence of VHL mutations suggests that oncogenesis in these 2 species differs.