Canine osteosarcoma treatment

4 February 2019 – News

Canine osteosarcoma (OSA) is a highly malignant and metastatic bone tumour in dogs.

It is more prevalent in middle-aged dogs of large or giant breeds with more than half of the cases appearing at the appendicular skeleton (mostly in forelimbs). There is a greater chance of metastasis in tumours found in the proximal humerus, distal femur or proximal tibia.  Clinical signs vary as they depend on the location of primary tumours. In appendicular OSA lameness and local swelling are common.

To reach a final diagnosis, physical examination, radiography and fine needle biopsy should be performed. It is possible to differentiate three stages of disease using the TNM system (T-Tumour, N-lymph node, M-metastasis) being IIB OSA the most frequent one.

Treatments including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy can increase the patient’s lifespan. Limb amputation should be the first surgical approach, except in cases where dogs have neurological or orthopaedic problems which make limp-sparing preferable. In terms of chemotherapy, carboplatin, cisplatin and doxorubicin are the most frequently used cytostatics. Radiotherapy is a palliative treatment and not used often in practice because it requires anaesthesia.  Access to the necessary equipment is also limited.

Multidrug resistance could explain some cases of inefficient chemotherapy so alternatives are needed. Nanoparticles could help developing novel therapies and are being used to create promising compounds in both human and veterinary medicine.

Szewczyk M., Lechowski R., Zabielska K. What do we know about canine osteosarcoma treatment? – review. Vet Res Commun (2015) 39:61–67; DOI 10.1007/s11259-014-9623-0