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Life History, Cancer Incidence, and Cancer Mortality in Non-Human Primates

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Cancer rates in our nearest relatives are largely unknown. Comparison of human cancer rates with other primates should help us to understand the nature of our susceptibilities to cancer. Data

Cancer rates in our nearest relatives are largely unknown. Comparison of human cancer rates with other primates should help us to understand the nature of our susceptibilities to cancer. Data from deceased primates was gathered from 3 institutions, the Duke Lemur Center, San Diego Zoo, and Jungle Friends primate sanctuary. This data contained over 400 unique individuals across 45 species with information on cancer incidence and mortality. Cancer incidence ranged from 0-71% and cancer mortality ranged from 0-67%. We used weighted phylogenetic regressions to test for an association between life history variables (specifically body mass and lifespan) and cancer incidence as well as mortality. Cancer incidence did not correlate with both body mass and lifespan (p>.05) however, cancer mortality did (p<.05). However, it is uncertain if the variables can be used as reliable predictors of cancer, because the data come from different organizations. This analysis presents cancer incidence rates and cancer mortality rates in species where it was previously unknown, and in some primate species, is surprisingly high. Microcebus murinus(grey mouse lemur) appear to be particularly vulnerable to cancer, mostly lymphomas. Further studies will be required to determine the causes of these vulnerabilities.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05