Health & Research

How to Participate in Cancer Research

Dear Doctor,

As you know, Golden Retrievers have a high incidence of cancer, with a 1998 Health Survey (results available on the Health Section of the GRCA website indicating that 57% of females and 66% of males will be affected. While many types of cancer are elevated in the breed, approximately one-half of the total is comprised of lymphoma (1 in 8 Goldens) and hemangiosarcoma (1 in 5 Goldens).

The Golden Retriever Club of America and the Golden Retriever Foundation have dedicated significant resources to improving Golden health, and are actively supporting numerous research studies investigating cancer in the breed. We are pleased to see results of these studies regularly published in premier medical journals, and translated into improved care opportunities.

In addition to financial support, we also aid researchers in obtaining vital tissue and/or blood samples from affected dogs. Along with this letter we have supplied a page with contact information for several of the programs investigating various cancers in Golden Retrievers. Owners do not need to be members of GRCA to participate, and we find that many owners are comforted to know that samples from their affected dog may benefit other dogs in the future. We hope that you will consider discussing sample donation to support research with your clients when their Golden Retriever is diagnosed with (or suspected of having) cancer.

Thank you for your consideration of this request, and please feel free to contact us or refer your clients to us for further information.

Golden Retriever Club of America
Golden Retriever Foundation

Correspondence to: Rhonda Hovan, GRCA Research Facilitator
330-668-0044 or 330-338-4236

Contact Information for Golden Retriever Participation in Cancer Research

These research labs are listed in an order which reflects their need for the most pristine and complete samples. Samples will be shared between labs when possible so that owners do not need to submit to more than one lab. When tumor tissue is available, please try to submit to the Modiano Lab when possible.

The Modiano Lab
Jaime Modiano, VMD, PhD
Email: Sample Coordinator: Mitzi Lewellen or 612-626-6890, press Option 1
Sample collection instructions:

Eligibility: Tumor and blood samples from untreated dogs with confirmed or suspected hemangiosarcoma or lymphoma; also tumor samples from dogs that have relapsed lymphoma after chemotherapy. Please call ahead when possible to arrange for a sample collection kit (which includes transport media) to be shipped to the veterinarian. Emergency situations may be accommodated by contacting Mitzi Lewellen as above.

The Breen Lab
Matthew Breen, PhD
Phone: 919-513-146
Sample collection instructions:

Eligibility: Tumor and blood samples from dogs with confirmed or suspected hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, or osteosarcoma. Please call ahead when possible, but if it is not possible to call ahead, please follow sample collection instructions and refrigerate samples until lab can be contacted.

The Broad Institute
Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, PhD
Sample collection instructions:

Eligibility: 1. Blood samples only from treated or untreated dogs with hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, osteosarcoma, and mast cell tumors. If diagnosis has not been confirmed at the time the sample is submitted, owner must be willing to confirm diagnosis with a histopathology report. 2. Blood samples from healthy (no cancer) Goldens 12 years and older. Please note that it is very important that the owner report any subsequent cancer diagnosis so that the sample can be removed from the healthy control category.

Additional Notes

* Please do not rely on research labs to provide timely histopathology reports on surgical samples.

* Handling of tissue samples is time sensitive and must follow specific protocols. Please contact the research lab as far in advance before collecting the sample when possible to make arrangements.

* Consent forms may ask you to sign or check a box to permit sharing of samples. Please sign or check the box to give this permission.

* If you are uncertain of whom to contact, or would like to discuss options further, please contact the GRCA Research Facilitator, Rhonda Hovan, at or 330-668-0044 or 330-338-4236

* In addition to participating in the above current studies, blood can be stored in the CHIC DNA repository for use in future research. We encourage owners to participate, with instructions at There is no charge for affected dogs; email Eddie Dzuik directly at to make arrangements. Please print this page and ask to have it put in your dog’s veterinary chart for immediate access in an emergency