Nov 4, 2018

First Osteosarcoma Reported from a New World Elapid Snake and Review of Reptilian Bony Tumors

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Alexander S. HallEric N. Smith

Abstract

Cancer chiefly occurs in vertebrates. Rare in amphibians, and perhaps common in reptiles, various neoplasms and malignant cancers have been reported with erratic frequency by museums, paleontologists, veterinarians, and pet hobbyists. Unsurprisingly, most herpetofaunal diversity has never been systematically surveyed for the presence of neoplasms owing to the extreme rarity or obscurity of many species. Museum collections can fill these gaps in knowledge, especially when researchers use non-destructive techniques. In this study, we used X-ray computed tomography to discover and characterize an osteosarcoma of the spine in a rare South American coralsnake, Micrurus ancoralis. Two spinal vertebrae were completely fused and adjacent vertebrae showed evidence of corruption. The fused vertebrae contained a hollow inner network thought to be vascular tissue. We also review previous reports of tumors in the Elapidae and all bony tumors in non-avian reptiles. The rarely reported technique of X-ray CT for tumor discovery could greatly improve our understanding of the species diversity and perhaps underlying causes of neoplasia.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Vertebrates
Study
Amphibians
Paleontologist
Blood Vessel
Plain X-ray
Research Personnel
Neoplasms
X-Ray Computed Tomography
Pan American Health Organization

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