Treatment Options for a Dog with Fibrosarcoma

Lili Duda, VMD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
My 12-year-old doberman has been diagnosed with both hemangiopericytoma and mast cell cancer. I find very little information on hemangiopericytoma. This tumor was incompletely removed from a hind leg. What is usual recommended treatment? Would 5-FU be beneficial in this type of cancer?  

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

There is no need to euthanize a dog with a tumor, even if large, if it is not affecting his quality of life. Although, a surgery to remove just the "outer growth" of the tumor is contraindicated. If surgery is to be considered at all, it should be surgery to remove the tumor including the jawbone. Dogs tolerate removal of the lower jaw extremely well, and can be curative for some fibrosarcomas if complete removal is accomplished, and there is no tumor spread, which is relatively uncommon for fibrosarcomas of the lower jaw. Removing just the visible part of the tumor is like cutting a weed off at the ground—the entire massive root system is still left intact, and the weed will rapidly regrow, often much more aggressively.

Anti-inflammatories and antibiotics might help to keep a dog more comfortable, because tumors of the oral cavity are often associated with secondary infection and inflammation.