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Research finds lawn chemicals raise cancer risk in Scottish terriers

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Exposure to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens increases the risk of bladder cancer in Scottish terriers, a discovery that could lead to new knowledge about human susceptibility to the disease, according to Purdue University scientists.

A team of veterinary researchers including Lawrence T. Glickman has found an association between risk of transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder in Scottish terriers and the dogs' exposure to chemicals found in lawn treatments. The study, based on a survey of dog owners whose pets had recently contracted the disease, may be useful not only for its revelation of potentially carcinogenic substances in our environment, but also because studying the breed may help physicians pinpoint genes in humans that signal susceptibility to bladder cancer.

"The risk of transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) was found to be between four and seven times more likely in exposed animals," said Glickman, a professor of epidemiology and environmental medicine in Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine. "While we hope to determine which of the many chemicals in lawn treatments are responsible, we also hope the similarity between human and dog genomes will allow us to find the genetic predisposition toward this form of cancer found in both Scotties and certain people."

The research, which Glickman conducted with Malathi Raghavan, Deborah W. Knapp, Patty L. Bonney and Marcia H. Dawson, all of Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine, and Indianapolis veterinarian Marcia Dawson, appears in the current (4/15) issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association.

According to the National Cancer Institute, about 38,000 men and 15,000 women are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year. Only about 30 percent of human bladder cancers develop from known causes. As Scottish terriers - often called Scotties - have a history of developing bladder cancer far more frequently than other breeds, Glic
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Contact: Chad Boutin
cboutin@purdue.edu
765-494-2081
Purdue University
20-Apr-2004


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