“Approximately 1 in 4 dogs will, at some stage in their life, develop neoplasia,” according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. “Almost half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer.”11 So, in San Diego, California, scientists at PetDx developed OncoK9, a multi-cancer detection test based on next-generation sequencing (NGS).
“OncoK9 is highly accurate because it looks for the underlying cause of cancer—genomic alterations in DNA that are specific to cancer,” says PetDx’s chief medical officer Andi Flory, DVM. “The validation study showed that in three of the most aggressive canine cancers—lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, and osteosarcoma—the detection rate of OncoK9 was greater than 85%; across 30 different cancer types, the test detected DNA abnormalities indicative of cancer in more than half of patients.” Plus, the results showed a false positive rate of just 1.5%.
When a sample reaches the PetDx lab, it takes 10 days or less for a veterinarian to receive the results—cancer was or wasn’t detected. “A unique strength of NGS-based liquid biopsy testing is the generation of billions of data points from each patient sample, creating the opportunity to provide even deeper insight into a result,” says Flory. “In a subset of patients with positive results, the type of DNA alterations identified in the patient sample indicates the likely presence of lymphoma or leukemia.” In such cases, PetDx provides a cancer signal origin (CSO) prediction for a hematologic malignancy to help direct a veterinarian’s diagnostic workup.
“A major goal at PetDx is to improve the test by expanding the number of cancer types for which CSO predictions are provided,” Flory says. “To do this, more patients need to be evaluated for each additional cancer type, which requires ongoing investment in research and development, including enhancements to our bioinformatics algorithms.”