Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Estimated incidence rate and distribution of tumours in 4,653 cases of archival submissions derived from the Dutch golden retriever population

Kim M Boerkamp1*, Erik Teske1, Lonneke R Boon1, Guy CM Grinwis2, Lindsay van den Bossche1 and Gerard R Rutteman1

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences Companion Animals, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 108, Utrecht 3584 CM, The Netherlands

2 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Pathobiology, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 1, Utrecht 3508 TD, The Netherlands

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10:34  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-34

Published: 31 January 2014



A genetic predisposition for certain tumour types has been proven for some dog breeds. Some studies have suggested that this may also be true for the Golden retriever breed. The present study aimed to examine a possible existence of a tumour (type) predisposition in the Dutch population of Golden retrievers by evaluating annual estimated incidence rates compared to incidence rates from previous publications. A second aim was to evaluate whether incidences of various tumours differed as related to the diagnostic method chosen, being either cytology or histology.


Tumours submitted to Utrecht University during the period 1998–2004 diagnosed either by means of cytology (n = 2,529) or histology (n = 2,124), were related to an average annual Dutch kennel club population of 29,304 Golden retrievers.

Combining individual tumours from both the cytological and the histopathological data-set resulted in an annual estimated incidence rate of 2,242 for 100,000 dog-years at risk regarding tumour development in general.

The most common cytological tumor diagnoses were ‘fat, possibly lipoma’ (35%), mast cell tumour (21%) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (10%). The most commonly diagnosed tumours by histology were mast cell tumour (26%), soft tissue sarcomas (11%) and melanoma (8%). Both the cytological and histopathological data-sets, showed variation; in patient age distribution, age of onset and incidence of various tumours.


Comparing our data with previous reports in non-breed-specified dog populations, the Golden retriever breed shows an increased risk for the development of tumours in general, as well as an increased risk for the development of specific tumour types, including the group of soft tissue sarcomas. Variations in age, location and incidence of various tumours were observed between the two data-sets, indicating a selection bias for diagnostic procedure.