Renal Cystadenocarcinoma and Nodular Dermatofibrosis

The terms "carcinoma" and "adenocarcinoma" (AC) generally apply to cancers that arise in the epithelial tissues of skin and body organs. Carcinoma is often used synonymously with "cancer," because 80 to 90 percent of human cases of cancer are carcinomas. Adenocarcinomas originate in abnormal gland cells that are in the lining or inner surface of a cavity or organ. Adenomas are benign tumors of gland cells that, over time, may transition to malignant tumors. The skin and delicate mucous membranes are commonly affected in senior pets. Dogs are prone to develop sebaceous, apocrine (anal sac), perianal, ceruminous, salivary, and sweat gland tumors, while cats are prone to basal cell tumors. The biological behavior of most adenocarcinomas is aggressive with a persistent tendency for metastasis.

Both in animals and humans, kidney tumors may be caused by chemical substances, physical trauma, or viral infections. Chemical substances known to cause kidney cancers in animals are nitrosamines, aromatic amines (dyes, rubber, gas, coal), triphosphates, cadmium, aflatoxins, and lead.

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Canine hereditary multifocal renal cystadenocarcinoma (RC) and nodular dermatofibrosis (RCND) is a rare, naturally occurring inherited cancer syndrome observed in dogs. Genetic mapping localizes the disease to a small region of canine chromosome 5. German Shepherd Dogs may develop a rare form of renal adenocarcinoma called cystadenocarcinoma, which causes a formation of multiple fibrous nodules in the skin. Tumors affect both kidneys and numerous firm nodules, consisting of dense collagen fibers develop in the skin. Most females develop uterine leiomyomas. Pedigree analysis of a canine family with RCND strongly indicates an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. The diagnosis of RC can be made by microscopical examination of renal biopsies as early as 1 year of age, before the dogs are used for breeding.


  1. Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond. Alice Villalobos, Laurie Kaplan
  2. Genetic mapping of a naturally occurring hereditary renal cancer syndrome in dogs Thora J. Jonasdóttir, Cathryn S. Mellersh, Lars Moe, Ragna Heggebø, Hans Gamlem, Elaine A. Ostrander, and Frode Lingaas.
  3. Renal microcystic tubular lesions in two 1-Year-old dogs - an early sign of hereditary renal cystadenocarcinoma? Moe L, Gamlem

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