Skip Over Navigation Links

NCI Mini Red Banner

CBSTP - Comparative Biomedical Scientist Training Program

Global Navigations

NCI Comparative Melanoma Tumor Board

Purpose:  To bring together expert human and veterinary pathologists to                                                           compare and contrast the histologic features and pathobiology of mucosal melanomas in humans and dogs.  By addressing mucosal melanoma in the context of multiple species, the board will seek consensus analysis aimed to further inform progress in melanoma research and to assess the utility of the dog as a preclinical model for mucosal melanomas in people.

Background:  Progress in understanding the pathobiology of melanomas has been painstaking, with limited success in prolonging survival in many clinical cases.  Advances are being aided by emerging knowledge in melanoma genetics, etiology, and therapeutic responses; all of these areas benefit greatly from research in animal models of human melanoma.  However, current animal models of melanoma are imperfect reflections of the human disease. By comparing the morphology, pathogenesis, and biology of both induced and spontaneous melanomas in multiple species collectively, the board proposes to improve and clarify comparative characterization and classification across these systems and to appraise the utility of each model organism, focusing on the utility of the dog as a model for preclinical trials.  This type of comparative oncology, addressing pathological disease occurring in the context of multiple species, takes advantage of a diversity in nature to further inform progress in cancer research.

Objectives: Constitute a Comparative Melanoma Tumor Board to study pathological outcomes of spontaneous melanomas in humans and companion dogs in order to address the following goals: 

  • To discuss the evolving fish, and mouse models of melanoma and their applications toward pathogenesis and early drug discovery uses.
  • To compare and contrast histopathologic features of muco-cutaneous melanomas in humans, and dogs
  • To discuss tumors in humans and dogs in an attempt to enhance communication in collaborative interactions between physician pathologists, veterinary pathologists, and scientific investigators. 
  • To discuss the pathobiology involved in the development and metastasis of melanomas in humans and dogs.
  • To evaluate the utility of dog melanomas for different preclinical applications, with an interest in informing the exploration of metastatic models and therapeutics for melanomas in people and dogs.

Approach:  Pathology specimens were sought from a variety of sources including interested biobanks, as well as collaborators and pathologist participants who provided examples of representative lesions in human beings and dogs.  Specimens were made available to all participants for review prior to the consensus meetings.  Specimens were assessed by the board panel of experienced physician and veterinary pathologists using an agreed upon protocol.

The members of the tumor board participated in multiple telepathology webinar conferences and in two face-to-face meetings at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, held April 18-20, 2012 and January 11, 2013 during which the panel also met with other veterinary and human oncologists, and melanoma basic and clinical research scientists. (Agendas available: April 2012, January 2013)

The April meeting’s scientific session included investigator presentations on advances using relevant melanoma models in mice and fish, as well as the clinical behavior and pathobiology of spontaneous melanomas in humans and dogs in order to stimulate examination of the disease from a comparative perspective. 

The primary purpose of the January meeting (“The Dog as Surrogate Clinical Model for Human Malignant Melanoma”) was to discuss and ultimately to form a concensus statement regarding the potential for use of  spontaneous malignant mucosal melanoma in canines as a pre-clinical model for human malignant melanoma.     A consensus opinion was formulated in this process and was published in Pigment Cell Melanoma Research. 2014 Jan;27(1)37-47.

Support for this collaboration was provided by the National Cancer Institute, the Canine Comparative Oncology and Genomics Consortium and the Animal Cancer Foundation

NCI Comparative Melanoma Tumor Board Pathologists


*R. Mark Simpson, D.V.M., Ph.D.                  National Cancer Institute                         Bethesda, MD             *Stephen M. Hewitt, M.D.                         National Cancer Institute                        Bethesda, MD                   
*Joshua D. Webster, D.V.M., Ph.D.               Genentech, Inc.                                         San Francisco, CA *Jaime Rodriguez-Canales, M.D.                   MD Anderson Cancer Center              Houston, TX
*Joy Gary, D.V.M.                                      National Cancer Institute                           Bethesda, MD Boris C. Bastian, M.D., Ph.D.                     University of California San Francisco           San Francisco, CA
Marcus W. Bosenberg, M.D., Ph.D.               Yale University School of Medicine              New Haven , CT Barbara J. Davis, V.M.D., Ph.D.                  Davis Toxicologic Pathology Consulting  Harvard, MA
D. Glen Esplin, D.V.M., Ph.D.                      ARUP Laboratories, University of Utah           Salt Lake City, UT Michael H. Goldschmidt, B.V.M.S., M.Sc. University of Pennsylvania                  Philadelphia, PA
Matti Kiupel Dr. Med. Vet, Ph.D.                Michigan State University                            East Lansing, MI Chyi-Chia Richard Lee, M.D., Ph.D.          National Cancer Insitute                       Bethesda, MD
Donald J. Meuten, D.V.M., Ph.D.                North Carolina State University                Raleigh, NC Alfredo Alberto Molinolo, M.D., Ph.D.          National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research    Bethesda, MD
Andriano Piris, M.D.                           Massachusetts General Hospital                   Harvard Medical School   Boston, MA Manju Prasad, M.D., MBBS                           Yale University                                        New Haven, CT
Victor G. Prieto, M.D., Ph.D.                        MD Anderson Cancer Center                    University of Texas    Houston, TX Rebecca C. Smedley, D.V.M., M.S.            Michigan State University, DCPAH               East Lansing, MI
Miriam Anver, D.V.M., Ph.D.                 Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research   Frederick, MD                    Jerrold M. Ward, D.V.M., Ph.D.               Global VetPathology                                    Gaithersburg, MD


    * Tumor board organizers                    




Back to Top • This page last reviewed: April 15, 2014


National Cancer Institute National Institutes of Health