June 1997

Retinoblastoma in a Dog

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison (Drs Syed, Nork, and Albert and Ms Poulsen); the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (Dr Riis); and the Laboratory of Pfizer, Centre de Recherche, Amboise, France (Dr George).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1997;115(6):758-763. doi:10.1001/archopht.1997.01100150760012

Objectives:  To describe and classify a retinal tumor found in a dog that histologically resembles human retinoblastoma and to discuss the molecular mechanisms of retinal oncogenesis.

Methods:  A dog eye with a retinal tumor was examined histologically. Studies including immunocytochemical analysis for retinal S-antigen and glial fibrillary acidic protein, enzyme histochemical analysis for carbonic anhydrase, and nick-end DNA labeling were used to characterize the tumor. Normal retina from another dog and other tumors from dogs, including 2 ciliary body medulloepitheliomas and a brain medulloepithelioma, were examined as controls.

Results:  The retinal tumor disclosed characteristics typical of human retinoblastoma, including Flexner-Wintersteiner rosettes. It showed strong immunoreactivity with S-antigen and glial fibrillary acidic protein. Carbonic anhydrase activity also could be shown in the tumor. Apoptosis was found to be the predominant method of cell death as shown by nick-end DNA labeling. In contrast to the other tumors examined, this tumor contained areas with retinal photoreceptor and glial differentiation.

Conclusion:  The histopathologic findings and differential staining characteristics in this retinal tumor are compatible with retinoblastoma, making this, to our knowledge, the first documented case of spontaneous retinoblastoma in an animal.