Canine lymphomas are a diverse group of cancers, and are among the most common cancers diagnosed in dogs. They collectively represent approximately 7-14% of all cancers diagnosed in dogs. There are over 30 described types of canine lymphoma, and these cancers vary tremendously in their behavior. Some progress rapidly and are acutely life-threatening without treatment, while others progress very slowly and are managed as chronic, indolent diseases. Lymphomas may affect any organ in the body, but most commonly originate in lymph nodes, before spreading to other organs such as the spleen, liver, and bone marrow.
Canine lymphomas are similar in many ways to the non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL) which occur in humans. Canine lymphomas and NHL are nearly indistinguishable when examined microscopically, and both tumor types exhibit similar responses to chemotherapy. In 2010, NHL was diagnosed in approximately 65,000 people in the United States, and claimed approximately 20,000 lives, making it the 7th-most common cancer overall, and the 6th-most common cause of cancer-related death. It is one of the few human cancers for which the frequency of newly diagnosed cases is still on the rise. It is our hope that research in canine lymphomas conducted by the Purdue Comparative Oncology Program will discover new ways of treating NHL in both dogs and humans. Our goal is to improve the outlook for dogs and humans affected with this all-too-common cancer.