Cancer Research Study: Malignant Histiocytosis

Malignant Histiocytosis/Histiocytic Sarcoma
in Flat-Coated Retrievers and Bernese Mountain Dogs

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Submission Checklist

  • Two tubes of blood

Supporting Documentation

  • Pedigree
  • Consent form (supplied by Dr. Ostrander's office)
  • Pathology report (if affected)

Supporting documents can be submitted separately.

This study aims to genetically map the gene(s) responsible for malignant histiocytosis (also known as histiocytic sarcoma) in the Flat-Coated Retriever by comparing the genomes of affected and unaffected dogs. Large numbers of both healthy and diseased animals are required. Recent advances in the canine genome project have made possible rapid mapping and cloning of canine disease genes. This study utilizes the resources and methodologies developed in the canine genome project to identify the gene that causes malignant histiocytosis. This study is being conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Elaine Ostrander at the NIH in cooperation with Dr. David Sargan at Cambridge University in England.


Flat-Coated Retrievers with known pedigrees can participate in this study. Dogs can be male or female, intact or neutered. Affected dogs must have a diagnosis of malignant histiocytosis, or histiocytic sarcoma, prior to sample submission. Affected dogs who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation therapy CAN be used for this research. Healthy, unaffected, control dogs must be 10 years of age or older and never have been diagnosed with any type of cancer.


Dana Mosher Samples Manager CGB/NHGRI/NIH 50 South Drive, MSC 8000 Bldg. 50, Room 5347 Bethesda, MD 20892-8000 E-mail: Phone: 301-451-9390 Fax: 301-594-0023


Sampling Kits: Although a kit is not required, it will help vets and owners submit everything that is needed by the researchers. The blood kit contains two 10-ml blood collection tubes, a set of blood draw instructions, a Consent Form, a mailing label, and a reminder to include supporting documents. Kits can be obtained free of charge by contacting Dana Mosher at: or (301-451-9390) or Edouard Cadieu at

Supporting Documentation: For all participants, a Consent Form must be completed by the owner; if not using a kit, contact the Support Team for a copy. In addition, a minimum of a 5-generation pedigree is required. For affected dogs, a pathology report indicating a diagnosis of malignant histiocytosis (or histiocytic sarcoma) is required. For healthy dogs, a note indicating the dog's state of health and age is sufficient. All information is confidential. It will not be shared with the AKC, breeders or owners, but it will be shared with collaborator, Dr. Sargan, and with tumor biologist, Dr. Matthew Breen. Supporting documents can be submitted separately from blood samples (e.g., faxed directly).

Blood Collection: When a kit is available, 6-8 mls of blood should be collected into each of the two 10-ml tubes provided (total of 12-16 mls). In the absence of a kit, 12-16 mls of blood should be divided into two or more EDTA tubes. In cases where blood collection is difficult, a minimum of 5 ml of blood will suffice.

AHT DNA Bank: If the dog has submitted blood to the Animal Health Trust DNA bank (donated blood at a Flat- Coated Retriever National Specialty), then the dog's DNA is already available for this study; there is no need to submit additional blood. However, a Consent Form and pathology report (for affected dogs) or health report (for unaffected dogs) must be submitted to Ms Mosher to alert the researchers to pull the DNA from the AHT bank.

Sending Blood Samples: Blood samples can be mailed using the regular US mail service and the mailer in which the kit was shipped. In the absence of a kit, blood can be sent in a well-padded container by regular mail.

Health Updates: If a dog that is a member of the healthy control group is later diagnosed with any type of cancer, it is critical that this information be relayed to the researchers. Similarly, health information for dogs in the AHT DNA Bank must be regularly updated, to avoid the possibility of a dog with cancer being mistakenly included in the control group.