Understanding how osteosarcoma spreads

Professor Matthew Allen and his team at the University of Cambridge are using our funding to study the bone cancer osteosarcoma. They want to find better ways to predict which patients have a higher risk of their cancer spreading.


Why is this research important for humans and animals?

Osteosarcoma is the most common malignant bone cancer in dogs and adults/teenagers. For both species, treatment options are relatively limited, and include limb surgery and chemotherapy. The 5-year survival rate for osteosarcoma in adults and teenage humans is around 70%. Most dogs survive just 18 months with the disease(1). Better ways to manage and treat the disease are needed for both species.


What will the research achieve?

The researchers want to help improve treatment of osteosarcoma by finding better ways to predict how a patient’s bone cancer is likely to progress and spread. To do this, the team are analysing different tumour samples from dogs with osteosarcoma, and comparing the molecular and genetic profiles of the samples. This type of information can help to form the basis of new methods to help vets and doctors better tailor treatment for their patients.


How does this relate to One Medicine?

Osteosarcoma has similar molecular and clinical characteristics in both humans and dogs. Research progress in this area for one species therefore has real potential to help the other.

The researchers hope that the results of this work will not only contribute to existing understanding of osteosarcoma in humans and animals, but could also lead to new ways of predicting and ultimately even controlling or preventing the growth and spread of bone cancers to other organs.


Project start date: 2019 [Active project]


(1)All osteosarcoma statistics on this page taken from: Simpson S, Dunning MD, de Brot S, Grau-Roma L, Mongan NP, Rutland CS. Comparative review of human and canine osteosarcoma: morphology, epidemiology, prognosis, treatment and genetics. Acta Vet Scand. 2017;59(1):71. Published 2017 Oct 24. doi:10.1186/s13028-017-0341-9