Archived News

Faculty Seek Patients for Study of Sarcoma Therapy in Dogs

February 17, 2012

February 17, 2011 (This trial was originally publicized December 13, 2011; patients are still being sought.)

A study evaluating alternative therapies for dogs with metastatic soft tissue sarcomas (STS) is being conducted at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in Davis.

Soft tissue sarcomas account for approximately 15% of all skin and subcutaneous tumors in dogs. This group of tumors, which is comprised of several variants, all demonstrate a similar behavior. Canine STS generally share the characteristics of being locally invasive with a less aggressive potential to spread to other areas of the body, or metastasize. STS are classified as grades 1-3, depending on microscopic characteristics. The grading system allows clinicians to make recommendations concerning additional therapy and provides a reference for discussing prognosis with owners.

With grade 3 tumors, a metastatic (spread) rate of approximately 50% is noted. Effective treatment options for STS metastatic disease are lacking.

Clinicians at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital are currently evaluating the outcomes associated with the combined use of radiation therapy and immunotherapy in the treatment of STS. As part of the study, we are actively enrolling cases that fit the below-mentioned requirements. As part of the study, dogs will have treatment of the primary tumor with an injectable medication followed by radiation therapy as would be recommended for palliative treatment of a STS.  The study involves the accumulation of blood and tumor tissue samples both pre- and post-treatment as well as the evaluation of the masses via CT scan. A significant amount of the cost of the treatments will be funded by the study.

We hope to be able to use the findings of this study to benefit patients with aggressive STS and evaluate alternative treatment options that may improve outcomes. 

Enrollment Requirements

•Canine patients diagnosed with a grade 3 (high grade) soft tissue sarcoma and metastatic disease can be considered.
•Patients must have at least one site of metastatic disease which is evaluable for treatment response.
•Patients cannot have had previous treatment for the STS; cases of recurrence after a previous surgery can be enrolled.

Information for Referring Veterinarians

If the dog is deemed a candidate for enrollment and the client consents, bloodwork and a pre-treatment biopsy and CT scan are performed. These diagnostics will then be performed post-treatment to evaluate the response to therapy.

Thank you for your interest in improving the quality of life for our canine patients affected by cancer.

About the Investigators

Michael S. Kent, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology), is an associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Surgical and Radiological Sciences. Dr. Kent provides radiation oncology services for small animals at the Center for Companion Animal Health.
Dr. Kent graduated from veterinary school at UC Davis in 1997 and completed an internship at the University of Pennsylvania. He worked in a private practice in Pennsylvania for one year before returning to California for residencies in medical oncology and radiation oncology at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. He also earned a master's degree in clinical research at UC Davis. Board certified in both medical and radiation oncology, Dr. Kent's research interests include clinical trials and tumor biology of melanoma, osteosarcoma and lymphoma.

William T. N. Culp, VMD, DACVS, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine in 2004 . After graduation, he remained at the university to complete an internship in small animal medicine and surgery followed by a surgical residency. Dr. Culp is board-certified as a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, and he has pursued additional training in cancer surgery at the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center, during which he completed a surgical oncology fellowship.

Dr. Culp is a member of the Small Animal Surgery Service (soft tissue) at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. He is interested in many areas of soft tissue surgery, but his major focuses are surgical oncology and interventional radiology. Surgical oncology focuses on utilizing advanced surgical techniques to treat cancer in veterinary patients. Interventional radiology is a newly developing field in veterinary medicine that utilizes diagnostic imaging (mostly fluoroscopy) to treat disease processes in veterinary patients in a minimally invasive manner. Interventional radiology allows for treatment options in cases that previously may have been considered untreatable. These two specialties will allow for advanced, minimally invasive treatments in veterinary cancer and non-cancer patients. Diseases of particular interest to Dr. Culp include malignant obstructions (cancer resulting in blockage of the urethra, trachea, esophagus and colon), non-resectable tumors (tumors that cannot be removed with traditional surgical techniques), tumors that can be treated with direct delivery of chemotherapy to their blood vessels, vascular abnormalities (portosystemic shunts, arteriovenous malformations) and tumors causing blockage of the ureter.

For any questions or for more information on this study, please contact:

Dr. Michael Kent, (530) 752-1393,           

Dr. William Culp, (530) 752-1393,

More clinical trials may be found at