Nucleosomes consist of DNA wrapped around a histone octamer core like beads on a string so that DNA can be condensed as chromatin into chromosomes. Diseases such as cancer or inflammation lead to cell death where chromatin is fragmentated and released as mononucleosomes into the blood. The Nu.Q™ H3.1 assay measures total nucleosome concentration in plasma of humans and has been used to detect and identify cancer even at early stages. The objectives of this study were to determine if nucleosome levels could be used to distinguish between healthy dogs and dogs with various stages of lymphoma (LSA) using the Nu.Q™ H3.1 assay.
A total of 126 dogs diagnosed with LSA and 134 healthy controls were recruited for this study. Plasma was collected from each dog and stored in K2-EDTA tubes. The LSA patient samples were recruited from TAMU or purchased from various biobanks. All control cases were recruited from TAMU.
Dogs with LSA had an approximately 7-fold increase in their plasma nucleosome concentrations compared to controls (AUC 87.8%). Nucleosome concentrations increased with cancer stage and dogs with B cell lymphomas had significantly higher nucleosome concentrations than dogs with T cell lymphomas.
The Nu.Q™ H3.1 assay was able to reliably detect elevated nucleosome concentrations in the plasma of dogs with LSA. Furthermore, it appears that nucleosomes are useful for differentiating cancer from healthy individuals in canines.