Chapter 7

PCR and Veterinary Cancer Diagnostics

Fabio Gentilini, Maria Elena Turba and Claudia Calzolari

Abstract

Recent advances in molecular biology are providing new opportunities for the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of cancer. At two decades from its discovery, PCR with its hundreds of variants and improvements is still the keystone of molecular techniques which gave rise to such a revolution. Novel methods and techniques have been introduced in recent years which promise further breakthroughs. Unfortunately, in veterinary medicine, the unaffordable cost of new instrumentation has delayed their application and practical use in clinical settings. Nevertheless, thanks to PCR, the exciting era of molecular medicine has also begun in veterinary medicine. Due to the limited space available, this chapter cannot deal with all the potential applications of PCR in the cancer battlefield. Thus, the authors have focused their attention on those PCR applications concerned with for the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer in pets which are already currently available, albeit not diffusely, at both academic and private laboratories around the world. In some cases, such as in c-KIT somatic mutations, for the first time in veterinary medicine, a consensus panel of specialists has recommended the inclusion of a molecular assay in the staging work-up of a neoplastic disease (canine mast cell tumors). In addition to the role of the molecular biologist in developing, implementing and refining the molecular classification for routine clinical practice, it is necessary to discover and validate new targets able to provide accurate information regarding diagnosis, prognosis, treatment resistance, susceptibility or predisposition to toxicity, or the prediction of a therapeutic response.

Total Pages: 106-135 (30)

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