Species differences in tumour responses to cancer chemotherapy

Jessica Lawrence, David Cameron, David Argyle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Despite advances in chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted drug development, cancer remains a disease of high morbidity and mortality. The treatment of human cancer patients with chemotherapy has become commonplace and accepted over the past 100 years. In recent years, and with a similar incidence of cancer to people, the use of cancer chemotherapy drugs in veterinary patients such as the dog has also become accepted clinical practice. The poor predictability of tumour responses to cancer chemotherapy drugs in rodent models means that the standard drug development pathway is costly, both in terms of money and time, leading to many drugs failing in Phase I and II clinical trials. This has led to the suggestion that naturally occurring cancers in pet dogs may offer an alternative model system to inform rational drug development in human oncology. In this review, we will explore the species variation in tumour responses to conventional chemotherapy and highlight our understanding of the differences in pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenomics between humans and dogs. Finally, we explore the potential hurdles that need to be overcome to gain the greatest value from comparative oncology studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1673
StatePublished - Jul 19 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


  • Canine
  • Chemotherapy
  • Comparative oncology
  • Dog
  • Human


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