Reducing cancer recurrence in canine patients

New research to understand the benefits of surgery and the recurrence of tumors in canine cancer patients after surgical removal.

The relative risk of a cancer recurrence is reduced by 60% in dogs whose tumors are completely removed, according to a recent analysis by Oregon State University researchers. “You want to get all the tumor out if you can,” says Milan Milovancev, an associate professor of small animal surgery in the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine and lead author of the study. “That’s what most veterinarians, including myself, have thought, but this makes it more official. Now we can say, here’s the data.”

The study reviewed 486 research articles, ultimately focusing on ten studies that met a set of criteria for inclusion in the analysis. Those studies represented 278 dogs surgically treated for cases of soft tissue sarcoma. The researchers found a recurrence of less than 10% in dogs where the soft tissue sarcoma was completely excised, versus 33% recurrence in cases where the cancer was incompletely excised, meaning there was microscopic evidence that tumor cells remained after surgery.

Having a better understanding of the benefits of complete removal of cancerous tumors can help veterinary surgeons better prepare for surgery.