Treatment Options for a Dog Liposarcoma

Lili Duda, VMD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
My dog has Liposarcoma Grade 2. We had the tumor removed and my vet says to just keep an eye out for more tumors to arise. Is this "laid-back" approach the best way to handle his condition? I just want to do what is best for him.

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

This is difficult to answer thoroughly based on the limited information. When in doubt, the best plan is to get a consultation with a board-certified oncologist to discuss treatment options and recommendations.

The most important factor is based on the surgical margins—if the pathologist (that is, the person who evaluates the tumor under the microscope) does not report the surgical margins as "clear", "adequate", or something to that effect, then this means tumor cells are left behind, and if tumor cells are left behind there is a very high likelihood that the tumor will recur. In addition, a grade 2 liposarcoma has the potential to metastasize (spread to other areas of the body), so your dog should be "staged" with chest X-rays and evaluation of the draining lymph node at the minimum. Treatment options depend on the size, location, duration, extent, and rate of tumor growth. Depending on these factors, more aggressive surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy may be indicated.