Surgical decompression, with or without adjunctive therapy, for palliative treatment of primary vertebral osteosarcoma in dogs

Alexandra Dixon, Annie Chen, John H. Rossmeisl, Beverly Sturges, Karen Vernau, Jonathan M. Levine, Arturo Otamendi, Peter Early, Alix Partnow, Lara Curtis, Stephanie Thomovsky, Rebecca A. Packer, Daniela A. Mauler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Vertebral osteosarcoma (OSA) is the most common primary vertebral tumor in dogs, however studies examining the survival time after surgical decompression of these tumors are limited. There is also limited information regarding the benefit of adjunctive treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy in these patients. The goal of this study was to determine survival time of dogs with primary vertebral OSA after palliative decompressive surgery alone and combined with radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. Records from 22 client-owned dogs diagnosed with primary vertebral OSA and treated with decompressive surgery were collected retrospectively from eight referral institutions. Survival time was assessed for dogs treated with surgery alone as well as dogs who received adjunctive radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. Median survival time in the 12 dogs treated with surgery alone was 42 days (range: 3-1333 days). The three dogs treated with surgery and chemotherapy had a median survival time of 82 days (range: 56-305 days). Only one dog was treated with surgery and radiation therapy; this dog survived 101 days. Six dogs were treated with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy; these dogs had a median survival time of 261 days (range: 223-653 days). Cause of death in all cases that survived the initial postoperative period was euthanasia secondary to confirmed or suspected tumor regrowth. The results of this study suggest that definitive radiation therapy, possibly combined with concurrent chemotherapy, significantly improves survival in dogs treated with palliative decompressive surgery for vertebral OSA and should be the treatment of choice in selected cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVeterinary and Comparative Oncology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • laminectomy
  • osteosarcoma
  • spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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