Open Access
Research (Published online: 19-11-2016)
8. One Health and cancer: A comparative study of human and canine cancers in Nairobi
Nyariaro Kelvin Momanyi, Rugutt Anne Korir and Riungu Erastus Mutiga
International Journal of One Health, 2: 42-57

Nyariaro Kelvin Momanyi: Department of Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Nairobi, Kenya; Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, Roslin, UK.
Rugutt Anne Korir: Cancer Registry Unit, Centre for Clinical Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya.
Riungu Erastus Mutiga: Department of Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Nairobi, Kenya.

doi: 10.14202/IJOH.2016.42-57

Share this article on [Facebook] [LinkedIn]

Article history: Received: 06-07-2016, Accepted: 21-10-2016, Published online: 19-11-2016

Corresponding author: Nyariaro Kelvin Momanyi


Citation: Momanyi NK, Korir RA, Mutiga RE. One Health and cancer: A comparative study of human and canine cancers in Nairobi. Int J One Health 2016;2:42-57.

Aim: Recent trends in comparative animal and human research inform us that collaborative research plays a key role in deciphering and solving cancer challenges. Globally, cancer is a devastating diagnosis with an increasing burden in both humans and dogs and ranks as the number three killer among humans in Kenya. This study aimed to provide comparative information on cancers affecting humans and dogs in Nairobi, Kenya.

Materials and Methods: Dog data collection was by cancer case finding from five veterinary clinics and two diagnostic laboratories, whereas the human dataset was from the Nairobi Cancer Registry covering the period 2002-2012. The analysis was achieved using IBM SPSS Statistics® v.20 (Dog data) and CanReg5 (human data). The human population was estimated from the Kenya National Census, whereas the dog population was estimated from the human using a human:dog ratio of 4.1:1.

Results: A total of 15,558 human and 367 dog cancer cases were identified. In humans, females had higher cancer cases 8993 (an age-standardized rate of 179.3 per 100,000) compared to 6565 in males (122.1 per 100,000). This order was reversed in dogs where males had higher cases 198 (14.9 per 100,000) compared to 169 (17.5 per 100,000) in females. The incident cancer cases increased over the 11-year study period in both species. Common cancers affecting both humans and dogs were: Prostate (30.4, 0.8), the respiratory tract (8.3, 1.3), lymphoma (5.6, 1.4), and liver and biliary tract (6.3, 0.5), whereas, in females, they were: Breast (44.5, 3.6), lip, oral cavity, and pharynx (8.8, 0.6), liver and biliary tract (6.5, 1.2), and lymphoma (6.0, 0.6), respectively, per 100,000.

Conclusion: The commonality of some of the cancers in both humans and dogs fortifies that it may be possible to use dogs as models and sentinels in studying human cancers in Kenya and Africa. We further infer that developing joint animalhuman cancer registries and integrated cancer surveillance systems may lead to accelerated detection of the risks of cancer in Africa.

Keywords: Africa, cancer, cancer registry, comparative oncology, Kenya, Nairobi, One Health.


1. Paoloni MC, Khanna C. Comparative oncology today. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 2007;37:1023-32; v. [Crossref] [PubMed] [PMC]

2. Weintraub A. Heal: The vital Role of Dogs in the Search for Cancer Cures. Canada: ECW Press; 2015.

3. Zinsstag J, Waltner-Toews D, Tanner M. Theoretical issues of one health. In: Zinsstag J, Schelling E, Waltner-Toews D, Whittaker M, Tanner M, editors. One Health: The Theory and Practice of Integrated Health Approaches. Wallingford, UK: CABI International; 2015. p. 16. [Crossref]

4. Kenya Medical Research Institute. Launch of the National Cancer Registry Programme, in the 6th KEMRI Annual Scientific and Health (KASH) Conference. Nairobi, Kenya: Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI): The Boma; 2016. p. 12.

5. Popat K, McQueen K, Feeley TW. The global burden of cancer. Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol 2013;27:399-408. [Crossref] [PubMed]

6. Bonnett BN, Egenvall A, Olson P, Hedhammar A. Mortality in insured Swedish dogs: Rates and causes of death in various breeds. Vet Rec 1997;141:40-4. [Crossref] [PubMed]

7. Bronden LB, Flagstad A, Kristensen AT. Veterinary cancer registries in companion animal cancer: A review. Vet Comp Oncol 2007;5:133-44. [Crossref] [PubMed]

8. Proschowsky HF, Rugbjerg H, Ersboll AK. Mortality of purebred and mixed-breed dogs in Denmark. Prev Vet Med 2003;58:63-74. [Crossref]

9. World Health Organisation. Global Status Report on Noncommunicable Diseases 2014. Geneva: World Health Organisation; 2014. p. 298.

10. Government of Kenya, National Cancer Control Strategy 2011-2016. Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and Ministry of Medical Services Kenya; 2011. p. 38.

11. Government of Kenya, Policy Brief on the Situational Analysis of Cancer in Kenya. Parliamentary Service Commission-Department of Research, Government Printer: Nairobi, Kenya; 2011. p. 4-6.

12. Mack GS. Cancer researchers usher in dog days of medicine. Nat Med 2005;11:1018. [Crossref]

13. Dorn CR, Taylor DO, Frye FL, Hibbard HH. Survey of animal neoplasms in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, California. I. Methodology and description of cases. J Natl Cancer Inst 1968;40:295-305. [PubMed]

14. Thrusfield M. Companion animal epidemiology: Its contribution to human medicine. Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics. Copenhagen, Denmark: Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica. Supplementum, 84. 1988. p. 57-65. [PubMed]

15. Ostrander EA, Giger U, Lindblad-toh K. The Dog and its Genome. New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; 2006.

16. Glickman LT, Domanski LM, Maguire TG, Dubielzig RR, Churg A. Mesothelioma in pet dogs associated with exposure of their owners to asbestos. Environ Res 1983;32:305-13. [Crossref]

17. Hayes HM Jr, Hoover R, Tarone RE. Bladder cancer in pet dogs: A sentinel for environmental cancer? Am J Epidemiol 1981;114:229-33. [PubMed]

18. Ostrowski SR. Sentinel animals (Dogs) as predictors of childhood exposure to environmental lead contamination: Observations on preliminary results. In: Sandhu S, Lower WR, de Serres FJ, Suk WA, Tice RR, editors. In Situ Evaluation of Biological Hazards of Environmental Pollutants. US: Springer; 1990. p. 145-50. [Crossref]

19. Reif JS, Dunn K, Ogilvie GK, Harris CK. Passive smoking and canine lung cancer risk. Am J Epidemiol 1992 1;135:234-9.

20. Reif JS, Rhodes WH, Cohen D. Canine pulmonary disease and the urban environment. I. The validity of radiographic examination for estimating the prevalence of pulmonary disease. Arch Environ Health 1970;20:676-83. [Crossref] [PubMed]

21. Backer LC, Grindem CB, Corbett WT, Cullins L, Hunter JL. Pet dogs as sentinels for environmental contamination. Sci Total Environ 2001;274:161-9. [Crossref]

22. Kenya Medical Research Institute. In: Mutuma G, Korir A, editors. Kenya Nairobi Cancer Incidence Report, 2000-2002. Nairobi: Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI); 2006.

23. Korir A, Okerosi N, Victor R, Mutuma G, Parkin M. Incidence of cancer in Nairobi, Kenya (2004-2008). Int J Cancer 2015;137:2053-9. [Crossref] [PubMed]

24. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. In: C.B.O. Statistics, editor. The 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census. Nairobi: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics; 2010. p. 28.

25. MacLennan R. Items of patient information which may be collected by registries. In: Jensen OM, Parkin DM, MacLennan R, Muir CS, Skeet RG, editors. Cancer Registration: Principles and Methods. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 1991. p. 43-63.

26. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. In: C.B.O. Statistics, editor. The 1999 Kenya Population and Housing Census. Nairobi: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics; 2001. p. xxxiii.

27. Muriuki J, Thaiya A, Mbugua SW, Kitaa J. Dog populations and dog-keeping practises in relation to raies control in Kisumu and Siaya Counties, Kenya. Int J Agric Sci Vet Med 2016;4:90-100.

28. Thrusfield M. Demographic characteristics of the canine and feline populations of the UK in 1986. J Small Anim Pract 1989;30:76-80. [Crossref]

29. Boyle P, Parkin DM. Statistical methods for registries. In: Jensen OM, Parkin DM, MacLennan R, Muir CS, Skeet RG, editors. Cancer Registration: Principles and Methods. Lyon, France International Agency for Research on Cancer; 1991. p. 126-58. [PubMed]

30. Gamlem H, Nordstoga K, Glattre E. Canine neoplasia - Introductory paper. APHIMS Suppl 2008;125:5-18. [Crossref]

31. Merlo DF, Rossi L, Pellegrino C, Ceppi M, Cardellino U, Capurro C, et al. Cancer incidence in pet dogs: Findings of the Animal Tumor Registry of Genoa, Italy. J Vet Intern Med 2008;22:976-84. [Crossref] [PubMed]

32. Gruntzig K, Graf R, Hassig M, Welle M, Meier D, Lott G, et al. The Swiss canine cancer registry: A retrospective study on the occurrence of tumours in dogs in Switzerland from 1955 to 2008. J Comp Pathol 2015;152:161-71. [Crossref] [PubMed]

33. Dobson JM, Samuel S, Milstein H, Rogers K, Wood JL. Canine neoplasia in the UK: Estimates of incidence rates from a population of insured dogs. J Small Anim Pract 2002;43:240-6. [Crossref] [PubMed]

34. International Agency for Research on Cancer. In: Stewart BW, Wild CP, editors. World Cancer Report 2014. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2014. p. 627.

35. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. In: C.B.O. Statistics, editor. Kenya Facts and Figures 2015. Nairobi: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics; 2015.

36. Dobson JM. Breed-predispositions to cancer in pedigree dogs. ISRN Vet Sci 2013;2013:941275. [Crossref] [PubMed] [PMC]

37. Meuten DJ. Tumours in Domestic Animals. 4th ed. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State Press; 2002. [Crossref]

38. Koulibaly M, Kabba IS, Cisse A, Diallo SB, Diallo MB, Keita N, et al. Cancer incidence in Conakry, Guinea: First results from the cancer registry 1992-1995. Int J Cancer 1997;70:39-45. [Crossref]

39. Pisani P, Parkin DM, Mu-oz N, Ferlay J. Cancer and infection: Estimates of the attributable fraction in 1990. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1997;6:387-400. [PubMed]

40. International Agency for Research on Cancer, Alcohol Drinking. Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Vol. 44. Lyons: IARC Press; 1988.

41. Ezzati M, Lopez AD. Estimates of global mortality attributable to smoking in 2000. Lancet 2003;362:847-52. [Crossref]

42. International Agency for Research on Cancer, Human Immunodeficiency Viruses and Human T-cell Lymphotrophic Viruses. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Vol. 67. Lyon: IARC Press; 1996.

43. Steyn K, Damasceno A. Lifestyle and related risk factors for chronic diseases. In: Jamison DT, Feachem RG, Makgoba MW, Bos ER, Baingana FK, Hofman KJ, et al., editors. Disease and Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. Washington, DC: World Bank; 2006. p. 247-65.

44. Waters DJ, Patronek GJ, Bostwick DG, Glickman LT. Comparing the age at prostate cancer diagnosis in humans and dogs. J Natl Cancer Inst 1996;88:1686-7. [Crossref] [PubMed]

45. Bostock DE. Canine and feline mammary neoplasms. Br Vet J 1986;142:506-15. [Crossref]

46. Brearley MJ. Mammary gland tumours in the dog. In Pract 1989;11:248-53. [Crossref]

47. Baba AI, Catoi C. Mamary gland tumours. In: Comparative Oncology. Bucharest: The Publishing House of the Romanian Academy; 2007.

48. Priester WA, Mckay FW. Occurrence of tumours in domestic animals. Data from 12 United States and Canadian colleges of veterinary medicine. J Natl Cancer Inst 1971;47:1-210.

49. Bayo S, Parkin DM, Koumare AK, Diallo AN, Ba T, Soumare S, et al. Cancer in Mali, 1987-1988. Int J Cancer 1990;45:679-84. [Crossref] [PubMed]

50. Chokunonga E, Levy LM, Bassett MT, Mauchaza BG, Thomas DB, Parkin DM. Cancer incidence in the African population of Harare, Zimbabwe: Second results from the cancer registry 1993-1995. Int J Cancer 2000;85:54-9. [Crossref]

51. Echimane AK, Ahnoux AA, Adoubi I, Hien S, M'Bra K, D'Horpock A, et al. Cancer incidence in Abidjan, Ivory Coast: First results from the cancer registry, 1995-1997. Cancer 2000;89:653-63. [Crossref]

52. Wabinga HR, Parkin DM, Wabwire-Mangen F, Nambooze S. Trends in cancer incidence in Kyadondo County, Uganda, 1960-1997. Br J Cancer 2000;82:1585-92. [PubMed] [PMC]

53. Banda LT, Parkin DM, Dzamalala CP, Liomba NG. Cancer incidence in Blantyre, Malawi 1994-1998. Trop Med Int Health 2001;6:296-304. [Crossref] [PubMed]

54. Bah E, Parkin DM, Hall AJ, Whittle H. Cancer in the Gambia: 1988-1997. Br J Cancer 2001;84:1707-24.

55. SCCA, 9th Stop Cervical, Breast & Prostate Cancer in Africa: Declaration, in Investing to Save Lives: The Role of Public & Private Sector Partnerships. Nairobi, Kenya; 2015.

56. Lueddeke G. Global Population Health and Well-Being in the 21st Century: Toward New Paradigms, Policy, and Practice. New York: Springer Publishing Company, LLC; 2015. p. 508.

57. International Agency for Research on Cancer. International Classification of Diseases for Oncology. 3rd ed., Vol. 3. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2013.

58. Lebeau A. The age of the dog and that of man. Statistical test on canine mortality. B Acad Vet France 1953;26:229-32.