Accurate and timely diagnosis of GI cancer is important for prognosticating, initiating appropriate treatment, and improving outcomes; however, differentiating GI cancer from chronic inflammatory enteropathy can be difficult due to overlapping, nonspecific clinical signs (eg, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss). Ultrasound findings are often equivocal, and other diagnostics (eg, endoscopic and surgical biopsy) can be costly and invasive and may require anesthesia.
This prospective, case-controlled study used small RNA sequencing to screen for fecal and serum microRNAs (miRNAs) in 6 dogs with GI cancer, 9 dogs with chronic inflammatory enteropathy, and 6 healthy dogs. Additional dogs were recruited for biomarker identification. Total participants included 24 dogs with GI cancer, 10 dogs with chronic inflammatory enteropathy, and 10 healthy dogs.
Reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR was used to establish fecal and serum miRNA panels that may distinguish between GI cancer and chronic inflammatory enteropathy. Results revealed 3 fecal miRNAs and 3 serum miRNAs that may facilitate early differentiation before more invasive diagnostics are pursued. Larger studies including dogs with more diverse chronic GI disease are needed to validate these findings.