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The Environment: A Common Source of Exposure for Human Beings and Dogs: First French Case-Control Study for Testing the Use of Dogs as Sentinels for Cancers from Environmental Origins

Enriquez, Brigitte Anna; Tabaries, Aude; Devauchelle, Patrick; Benet, Jean-Jacques

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000362365.81775.64
Abstracts: ISEE 21st Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, August 25–29, 2009: Symposium Abstracts

Ecole nationale vétérinaire d'Alfort, Maisons–Alfort, France.


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Background and Objective:

Dogs have, in a few studies, been used as early biomarkers of risk for some human cancers. Indeed, they have a shorter lifespan and they demonstrate no addictive behaviour. In addition, as they are exposed through different routes to pollutants present in air, dust and soil, these pets can be proposed as sentinels for cancers of environmental origins and valuable alarm bells for human risk managers. France, with a population of 8 million dogs, seems adequate for epidemiological studies testing such a hypothesis.

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We organised a case-control study to check a potential link between canine cancers and environmental factors. We included 206 dogs from Alfort veterinary school campus: 103 (cases) in the Alfort Centre of Veterinary Cancerology, 103 (controls) in the vaccination clinics. Their owners answered an environmental questionnaire (way of living, uses of biocides or pesticides). The exposures have been quantified by an index taking into account the frequency of contact and the proximity to the dog.

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We can propose suggestive findings as the number of animals is not sufficient to reach statistical significance. For example, dogs having access to their owner's garden show more cutaneous tumours in comparison to those having no such access (P = 0.05; OR = 6,3 [1,0–50]), Dogs exposed to home perfumes show more nasal tumours than others not exposed (P = 0.06; OR = 13.5 [0.92–423]). The exposure to Wi-fi signals needs to be documented to allow assessment.

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Our results deal principally with cutaneous tumours. A second case-control study will be initiated on a larger scale. We plan to add to the descriptive data, blood samples allowing biological measures to know the nature and the level of environmental dangers. Finally, discussion with dermatologists could result in a fruitful collaboration.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.