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Wildlife cancer: a conservation perspective

Nature Reviews Cancer volume 9, pages 517526 (2009) | Download Citation

  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 01 August 2009

This article has been updated

Abstract

Until recently, cancer in wildlife was not considered to be a conservation concern. However, with the identification of Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease, sea turtle fibropapillomatosis and sea lion genital carcinoma, it has become apparent that neoplasia can be highly prevalent and have considerable effects on some species. It is also clear that anthropogenic activities contribute to the development of neoplasia in wildlife species, such as beluga whales and bottom-dwelling fish, making them sensitive sentinels of disturbed environments.

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Change history

  • 30 June 2009

    In the version of this article initially published online and in print, table 1 on page 521 mistakenly indicated papillomavirus as the associated virus for flatback turtle (Natator depressus), olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Kemp’s ridley turtle (L. kempii) and hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). These entries have therefore been removed from the table. Reference 154 has also been removed from the article because other references in the main text discuss the virus association in specific turtle species. Accordingly, references 155–162 have been renumbered as references 154–161. These errors have been corrected for the HTML and PDF versions of the article.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank D. Lyden, W. Karesh and T. Chang, whose thoughtful suggestions, especially early on, helped shape the content of the manuscript. They also acknowledge D. Joly and the anonymous reviewers, whose critical reviews and comments markedly improved the final version.

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Affiliations

  1. Denise McAloose and Alisa L. Newton are at Pathology and Disease Investigation, Global Health Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York, New York 10460, USA.

    • Denise McAloose
    •  & Alisa L. Newton

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to Denise McAloose.

Glossary

Allee effect

A decrease in population fitness, such as population decline, at low population density.

Benthic

In the lowest ecological regions (such as the sediment surface) of a body of water.

Cetacean

An animal in the order Cetacea; includes, whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Cholangioma

A benign tumour of the intrahepatic bile ducts.

Chromatophoroma

Tumour of the pigment-producing, light-reflecting cells, xanthophores, erythrophores and iridiphores, in vertebrate and invertebrate species, such as amphibians, fish, reptiles, crustaceans and cepahalopods.

Fibropapillomatosis

A condition characterized by the presence of proliferative neoplasms containing superficial epidermal and subjacent dermal tissue.

IUCN

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources is a global environmental network created in 1948 consisting of government, non-governmental organizations and scientific members that works with United Nations agencies, companies and communities towards the development of best practices, policy and environmental laws.

Koch's postulates

Criteria established by Robert Koch and Friedrich Loeffler in 1884 that established a relationship between a pathogen and disease, including: detection of an organism in hosts suffering from the disease; isolation of the novel organism in pure culture from the original host; transmission of cultured organism causes disease development in the healthy naive experimental host and the isolation of the organism (confirmed identical to the original causative organism) from a lesion in an inoculated host.

Mirex

An organochlorine insecticide that bioaccumulates in the environment and is carcinogenic.

Pinniped

An animal in the orders Carnivora or Odobenidae (walrus), Otariidae (fur seal and sea lion) or Phocidae (true seals).

Population dynamics

Marginal and long-term changes in birth, death, immigration, emigration and composition (such as, sex, age and class) of a population.

Sirenian

An animal in the families Trichechidae (manatees) or Dugongidae (dugongs and sea cows).

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nrc2665

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