The pathology of Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) in Tasmanian Devils (Sarcophilus harrisii).

Richmond Loh, J. Bergfield, D. Hayes, Mandy O'Hara, Steve Pyecroft, Shane Raidal, R. Sharpe

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121 Citations (Scopus)


A disfiguring and debilitating neoplastic condition known as devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) has been discovered in wild Tasmanian Devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) across 51% of its natural range, with population declines of up to 80% in some areas (C. Hawkins, personal communication). Between 2001 and 2004, 91 cases were examined. The tumors presented as large, solid, soft tissue masses usually with flattened, centrally ulcerated, and exudative surfaces. They were typically multicentric, appearing first in the oral, face, or neck regions. Histologically, the tumors were composed of circumscribed to infiltrative nodular aggregates of round to spindle-shaped cells, often within a pseudocapsule and divided into lobules by delicate fibrous septae. They were locally aggressive and metastasized in 65% of cases. There was minimal cytologic differentiation among the tumor cell population under light and electron microscopic examination. The results indicate DFTD to be an undifferentiated soft tissue neoplasm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)890-895
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Pathology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


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