Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people

Identifying Blood Biomarkers of Feline Mammary and Squamous Carcinomas


Cancer is a leading cause of death in cats, with tumors in the mammary gland, mouth, and skin being the most common. Currently, we rely on surgical removal of the tumor or a biopsy for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment options. Since this procedure often requires anesthesia, researchers are looking at ways of using a simple blood sample in order to provide these answers. This is already being performed in humans because tumors release biomarkers in the blood called circulating tumor cells (CTCs). These cells enter the blood stream from the original tumor and begin to appear before the cancer spreads to other parts of the body. Higher CTC numbers are associated with cancer spread, faster disease progression, and a poorer prognosis in humans with various cancers. CTCs can also play a role in determining the type of cancer treatment for the patient. To date, there are no published studies on CTC detection in cats so the goal of this study is to develop tools needed for use in future tests designed to detect CTCs in the blood of cats with cancer.

ELIGIBILITY: Cats of any age who are having a biopsy or tumor removal at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals for a suspected or confirmed carcinoma.

COMPENSATION: This is a sample collection study only so no compensation is provided.

OWNER RESPONSIBILITIES: A blood sample along with a sample of the tumor removed during surgery is all that is needed. This will occur during the routine procedure and patient hospital visit so no additional owner commitment is required.

CONTACT: For questions or for more information on the study email the clinical trials coordinator at