Mammary Gland Adenocarcinoma in a Malayan Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2009

Jun-Cheng Guo1, DVM; Ping-Hwan Yu2, DVM; Fei Pang2, DVM, PhD; Chao-Hua Chi2, DVM, PhD

1Taipei Zoo, Taipei, Taiwan; 2School of Veterinary Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan


Mammary gland tumors are common in dogs and cats but seldom found in bears.3,4 An 18-year-old female Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) with no breeding history in Taipei Zoo was discovered to have three 1×2 cm2 masses and one ulcerative lesion on the left abdomen in late 2006. Two mastectomy surgeries were performed to remove the masses and the mammary gland in January 2007.1 The masses were diagnosed as adenocarcinoma of the mammary gland and were considered metastasized by histopathologic examination. An incisional biopsy of an enlarged left axillary lymph node was performed later. Histopathologic examination revealed a sheet of vacuolated tumor cells with a high degree of atypia and nuclear pleomorphism. A complete blood count and serum biochemistry profile were within normal reference range, and radiologic films revealed no apparent metastasis to other organs. The human tumor markers for mammary gland tumors, CA 15-3 and CEA, which are thought to be helpful in clinical diagnosis,2 were detected in this case. Lymphadenectomy and ovariohysterectomy were later performed, and the bear has been in good health since the surgeries.

Literature Cited

1.  Andrew, N.C. 2003. Principles of treatment for mammary gland tumors. Clin Tech Small Anim Prac. 18:107–109.

2.  Duffy, M.J. 2006. Serum tumor markers in breast cancer: are they of clinical value? Clin Chem. 52:345–351.

3.  Stetter, E.C. 2003. Ursidae and Hyaenidae. In: Fowler, M.E., and R.E. Miller (eds.). Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine, 5th ed. WB Saunders, St. Louis, Missouri. 523–537.

4.  Klein, M.K. 2007. Tumors of the female reproductive system. In: Withrow, S.J., and D.M. Vail (eds.). Small Animal Clinical Oncology, 4th ed. Saunders Elsevier, Canada. 619–636.


Speaker Information
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Jun-Cheng Guo, DVM
Taipei Zoo
Taipei, Taiwan

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