Chondrosarcoma in Dogs

Lili Duda, VMD
Last Modified: June 11, 2007

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
My dog, Kaya, was recently diagnosed with a chondrosarcoma in his left nasal cavity. The tumor extends from the middle of the nose to the ocular socket. There is no bone deterioration present. The oncologist recommended high dosage radiation followed by chemotherapy.

My question is regarding the 2 schools of thought about radiation. I have read that many hospitals believe that surgery followed by low dosage radiation is the most effective means of treatment. The others believe that high dosage radiation with no surgery is the most effective treatment. Is there a difference in results between the 2 treatments? If there is a difference is it significant enough to warrant me taking Kaya to a hospital that performs the most effective procedure?

Thank you for your site and for your time.  
Kaya's Dad

Lili Duda, VMD, Editor of the OncoLink Veterinary Oncology Section, responds:

The current consensus is that either surgery (rhinotomy) plus low-energy radiation therapy OR high-energy radiation therapy alone are roughly equivalent treatment options for canine nasal chondrosarcoma. However, low energy radiation therapy is rarely used anymore in veterinary medicine (due to lack of availability), so by default, high-energy radiation therapy alone is considered the treatment of choice. The limited published information available suggests that surgery combined with high-energy radiation (for canine nasal tumors) confers a worse prognosis than high-energy radiation alone. Systemic chemotherapy has not been shown to improve prognosis.