Objective To describe and characterize histiocytic sarcoma (HS) first detected in the eyes of dogs using the large database at the comparative ocular pathology laboratory of Wisconsin (COPLOW).
Methods Cases diagnosed as HS were selected from the COPLOW database. Slides were reviewed to describe the cellular morphology, localize the tumor within the globe, record the tumor distribution and measure the size of the tumor. Further sections were taken to perform immunohistochemistry for Melan-A, CD18 and S-100, and for ferric iron staining. The following clinical information was recorded: breed, age, gender, laterality, clinical signs upon presentation and follow-up information obtained by response to a mailed survey and phone contact.
Results Twenty-six cases were confirmed as being HS according to the immunohistochemical results (CD18 positive and Melan-A negative). The most prevalent breed was Rottweiler (eight cases), followed by Retriever breeds (seven Golden Retrievers and five Labrador Retrievers). The mean age was 8.61 ± 2.43 years. There were three intact male, eight castrated male, one intact female and 14 spayed female dogs. In 15 dogs there were no concurrent systemic clinical signs at the time of diagnosis. Sixteen of 19 dogs with follow-up information available died as a result of causes related to the tumor, although only three of them received a necropsy. Survival time varied between 5 days and 6 months after enucleation. Three of the dogs were alive at the time the information was gathered. Mean tumor surface was 0.613 ± 0.38 cm2. S-100 was diffusely positive in 10 cases, isolated positive cells were found in 11 cases and five cases were completely negative. Seven of the cases were positive for ferric iron.
Conclusions Histiocytic sarcoma must be considered in the differential diagnosis of dogs with intraocular masses, especially in Rottweilers and Retriever breeds. Because it carries poor prognosis, it must be distinguished from melanoma. A good discriminator for this purpose in paraffin-embedded tissues is finding CD18-positive cells and no reactivity against Melan-A. S-100 and ferric iron staining does not seem to be useful. Ocular HS is considered to be a manifestation of a systemic disease even when the disease is first recognized in the eye.