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Hair nicotine concentration of cats with gastrointestinal lymphoma and unaffected control cases
  1. Victoria Smith1,
  2. Clare Knottenbelt1,
  3. David Watson2,
  4. Dominic J Mellor1,
  5. Alexandra Guillen Martinez3,
  6. Helen Philp1,
  7. Sarah Keegan4,
  8. Mary Marrington5,
  9. Chiara Giannasi6,
  10. Tom Cave6 and
  11. Alix Rebecca McBrearty1
  1. 1Small Animal Hospital, Veterinary School, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  3. 3University of Liverpool Faculty of Veterinary Science, Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
  4. 4Langford Veterinary Services, Bristol, Bristol, UK
  5. 5Department of Oncology, North West Veterinary Specialists, Runcorn, UK
  6. 6Department of Oncology, Cave Veterinary Specialists, West Buckland, UK
  1. Correspondence to Victoria Smith, Internal Medicine, North Downs Specialist Referrals, Bletchingley RH1 4QP, UK; v-smith{at}


Background A previous study showed an association between owner-reported exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) and lymphoma in cats. This study aimed to investigate the association between ETS exposure and gastrointestinal lymphoma in cats, using hair nicotine concentration (HNC) as a biomarker.

Methods This was a prospective, multi-centre, case–control study. Gastrointestinal lymphoma was diagnosed on cytology or histopathology. Hair samples were obtained from 35 cats with gastrointestinal lymphoma and 32 controls. Nicotine was extracted from hair by sonification in methanol followed by hydrophilic interaction chromatography with mass spectrometry. Non-parametric tests were used.

Results The median HNC of the gastrointestinal lymphoma and control groups was not significantly different (0.030 ng/mg and 0.029 ng/mg, respectively, p=0.46). When the HNC of all 67 cats was rank ordered and divided into quartiles, there was no significant difference in the proportion of lymphoma cases or controls within these groups (p=0.63). The percentage of cats with an HNC≥0.1 ng/mg was higher for the lymphoma group (22.9%) than the control group (15.6%) but failed to reach significance (p=0.45).

Conclusion A significant association was not identified between HNC (a biomarker for ETS) and gastrointestinal lymphoma in cats; however, an association may exist and further studies are therefore required.

  • Cats
  • hair nicotine concentration
  • environmental tobacco smoke
  • gastrointestinal
  • lymphoma
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  • Funding This study was funded by British Small Animal Veterinary Association, Grant No: PetSavers Clinical Research Project 04.14.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

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