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Vet J. 2010 Jul;185(1):15-22. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2010.04.008. Epub 2010 May 23.

Cancer stem cells and telomerase as potential biomarkers in veterinary oncology.

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Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh Hospital for Small Animals, Easter Bush, Midlothian EH25 9RG, UK.


Despite advances in chemotherapy and radiotherapy, cancer remains a disease of high morbidity and mortality in domestic animals. In parallel to the development of novel therapeutic interventions, appropriate biomarkers are required to detect early-stage disease and disease remission and relapse at both gross and molecular levels, and the effectiveness of therapy. The field of cancer pathogenesis has grown exponentially over the last decade, both in terms of our understanding of the underlying molecular events, and the technologies available to interrogate the cancer cell. This paper reviews the role of the telomerase enzyme and of telomere length as potential biomarkers in cancer. Furthermore, the potential role of cancer stem cells as biomarkers of malignancy and disease progression is assessed.

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