Improving Outcomes for Dogs with Hemangiosarcoma

  • Fully Enrolled
  • Dog
  • Cardiology , Oncology

Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) is a cancer of the cells lining the blood vessels that is very aggressive. The treatment of choice is surgical removal followed by chemotherapy administration with a drug called doxorubicin (DOX). Unfortunately, despite aggressive therapy, most dogs die within 6-10 months. Virtually no improvements in outcome for dogs with HSA have occurred in the past 30 years despite multiple clinical trials/efforts. This cancer represents a significant challenge because it is very hard to determine when cancer has returned, and the genetics of this cancer are not well understood, making it difficult to find new therapies. There has been a substantial effort to develop tools for early detection of cancer, identification of cancer recurrence, and monitoring of response to therapy. The purpose of this proposal is to develop and validate a non-invasive blood-based method that can be used for early detection of HSA and characterization of the genetic changes over time that drive resistance to therapy. We also want to determine a better way of monitoring response to DOX therapy. This data will be used to develop a test that can detect early relapse of HSA and screen dogs at risk, and develop a monitoring protocol during therapy.

Inclusion Criteria

Eligible patients (any breed of dog) must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Dogs must have a histopathologic diagnosis of stage I or II splenic hemangiosarcoma
  • Dogs must not have not undergone any prior treatment
  • Dogs must undergo a splenectomy at our facility in Grafton, MA and all subsequent visits are in the Grafton facility
  • Dogs must weigh at least 10 kg
  • Dogs must have adequate organ function as indicated by standard laboratory tests
  • Dogs must be able to return for study visits as dictated by the study calendar

Exclusion Criteria

Dogs meeting any of the following criteria will not be eligible for the study:

  • Pregnant or lactating dogs
  • Concurrent use of complementary or alternative medicines
  • Dogs with significant liver, heart and/or kidney disease
  • Use of any other investigational drug within 1 week of study entry.
  • Dogs with stage III hemangiosarcoma

Client Benefits

For participation in this clinical study, all costs associated with treatment of your dog for hemangiosarcoma will be covered up to a total of $4,000. Additionally, this includes a $500 credit for the surgery to remove the tumor prior to beginning chemotherapy.

Sample or Data Requirements

If you decide to participate in this study, your dog will receive chemotherapy (DOX) treatment after splenectomy surgery through the Tufts oncology service. At each of the DOX treatment visit, he/she will also receive a heart function examination including echocardiogram and ECG, and blood sample collection.  After completion of DOX chemotherapy, your dog will return once a month for a recheck examination until 6 months post completion of the chemotherapy.


Referring Physician Questionnaire

If you believe you have a patient who is eligible for this clinical trial study or you would like additional information from the Clinical Trials Office at the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center, complete a referring physician questionnaire.

Contact Info

For questions regarding the clinical trial please email the clinical trials technician, Diane Welsh at: