Treatment for Canine Osteochondrosarcoma

Lili Duda, VMD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian who is looking for information on osteochondrosarcomas in dogs. I have recently had a patient diagnosed with osteochondrosarcoma of the rib cage in a 4 year old, male neutered Golden Retriever. My boss and I are looking for information on this type of cancer. Any info at all would be helpful. Treatment options, prognosis, etc.  
Thanks for any help you may have.

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

Osteosarcomas and chondrosarcomas are the two most common tumors of the canine rib. Some bone tumors might have features of both osteoid and chondroid differentiation. Both these tumor types are aggressive and metastatic, although chondrosarcomas have somewhat less potential than osteosarcomas, and the metastases might take longer to become clinically significant. The staging evaluation should include routine blood work and urinalysis, chest radiographs, and possibly CT or MRI of the primary tumor.

Treatment focuses on both local control of the primary tumor as well as delay/prevention of metastatic disease. If the primary tumor is not controlled, many animals will die from the primary tumor before metastasis is clinically significant. The most important factor in local control is wide surgical excision of the tumor, which entails a chest wall resection. Radiation might be useful for residual local disease, and chemotherapy is indicated for control of metastasis.