The Fédération Cynologique Internationale is, as its name says, an association, a combination of ninety-one national canine organisations, defending common values, sometimes defending their own values, having however, a constant interest in mind : the DOG.

The FCI has to deal with, sometimes, 91 different points of views and each FCI member, in its turn, has to deal with a number of standpoints which is equal to the number of breeders/members affiliated to them in their country. It is therefore easy to figure out the multiplicity and the diversity of opinions with which we, FCI, have to deal daily.

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Y. De Clercq
FCI Executive Director
Trained dogs can sniff out cancer cells!

Interview with Pr Olivier Cussenot from the Centre for Prostate Disease Research, Tenon Hospital (Paris, France)

Olivier CUSSENOT (01/10/60) (MD; PhD) (

Full Professor Anatomy/Urology at the University Paris VI, honorary member of the Institut Universitaire de France, consultant surgeon, fully qualified in urology, oncology and medical genetics.

Head of the Academic department of Urology, Hôpitaux Universitaires Paris Est (Tenon Hospital, AP-HP)

Scientific Director of the Centre for Prostate Disease Research and of the clinical Research Unit in onco-urology, Institute of cancerology at the University Paris VI).

Chairman of the Clinical Urology Research Committee and of the integrated research and action programme for prostate cancer at the French National Cancer Institute.

National coordinator of the “Prostate” section of the French “Ligue's” Tumour Identity Cards (“carte d’identité des tumeurs”) programme and of the INCa's prostate tumour sequencing programme

French collection manager for the International Consortium for Prostate Cancer Genetics ICPCG families, funded by the « National Cancer Institute ».

360 peer-reviewed publications are listed under Cussenot O. on

Pr Cussenot, could you please tell us how the sniffer dog training project started out within your framework? When did it get underway in France?

Our team was the first to explore the diagnostic approach in France, and a worldwide pioneer in applying it to prostate cancer.
Our research started out in 2007, with the support of the Army, which agreed to dedicate two dog trainers to the project. The project was part of our research programme on the diagnostic markers for prostate cancer.

On a global scale, who was the first to pioneer the method?

Williams H, Pembroke A (Lancet. 1989) described a patient whose dog was constantly sniffing at a mole on her leg. The patient didn't fret about the lesion, but her dog's ongoing attention prompted her to see a doctor. Once removed and subjected to histological examination, the lesion proved to be a malignant melanoma.
Olfactory detection of human bladder cancer by dogs: proof of principle study. Willis CM, BMJ. 2004

How many types of cancer can dogs detect to date?

The available scientific literature on canine scent cancer detection spans bladder, colon, prostate, thyroid, ovarian, lung, breast and skin cancers.

Do your colleagues from other medical specialties work with dogs, too?

Not in France.

In your opinion, are dogs to become an integral part of conventional cancer diagnosis procedures some day? In the short/medium/long term?

No, because the procedure cannot be standardised.

How is this diagnostic method perceived (by medical professionals, by patients, etc.)?

They're all sceptical...

Why do you think some companies invest large amounts of money into making inaccurate "sniffing machines" when the dogs' outcome comes close to 100% reliability?

Those technologies are marketable and subject to patents.

How do you source the funding for your research, the training of the dogs, etc.?

Patronage is our funding source.

Who are your co-workers as far as the dog training itself is concerned?

In this field, we work with the French Army.

Pr Cussenot, thank you for this interview!

Interview: Marie Luna Durán
FCI Marketing and Public Relations Manager