Message Number: SG7347 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2004-01-09 03:15:38 UTC
Subject: RE: mast cell tumors
Message-ID: <>

I believe that there is (was some confusion) on the use of the term malignant in relationship to mast cell tumors. Mast cell tumors in the ferret do not fit any of the common criteria for malignancy - a tendency to infiltrate surrounding tissue, evidence of poor differentiation (never quite making it to an "adult" appearance of a mast cell), or metastasis (cells breaking off and going to distant organs to set up shop there.)

As such, mast cell tumors in ferrets should NOT be considered malignant. Almost ten years ago I reported ONE that did fit the criteria - and it was a malignant mast cell tumor - poorly differentiated cells which invaded multiple organs - wherever it happened to travel. But this was the vast exception.

In ferrets, as opposed to the dog, these tumors are benign tumors. It is perfectly acceptable for the same tumor to be benign in one species and malignant in another. Just one more thing to make my job interesting...

With kindest regards,
Bruce Williams, dVM

End of ferrethealth Digest