Additional Local Therapy With Primary Re-Excision or Radiation Therapy Improves Survival and Local Control After Incomplete or Close Surgical Excision of Mast Cell Tumors in Dogs


  • Presented in part at the ECVS Symposium, Barcelona, Spain, July 2012, and at the Graduate Student Research Forum, Auburn University, AL, February 2013.



To compare survival and local recurrence outcomes in dogs with mast cell tumors with incomplete or close margins treated with primary re-excision or radiation therapy of the primary site versus no additional local therapy.

Study Design

Retrospective case series.


Dogs (n = 64).


Outcomes of canine mast cell tumor cases that had incomplete or close surgical resection and presented to the Ontario Veterinary College Health Sciences Centre (2001–2010) were evaluated after additional local therapy (primary re-excision or radiation therapy) or no additional local therapy (comparison). Follow-up was performed through evaluation of medical records and telephone contact with referring veterinarians and owners.


Tumors (n = 70) in 64 dogs were studied. Median survival times for the primary re-excision (2930 days) and radiation therapy (2194 days) groups were significantly longer than for the comparison (710 days) group. Local recurrence occurred in 13% of the re-excision group, 8% of the radiation therapy group, and 38% of the comparison group. Although local recurrence rate was not statistically significant for the re-excision group, time to local recurrence was statistically longer for both the re-excision and radiation groups. Adjunctive chemotherapy was not associated with improved survival or local control.

Conclusion/Clinical relevance

There is significant improvement in survival and duration of local control when additional local therapy is performed after incomplete or close resection of mast cell tumors. These follow-up therapies should be recommended to owners when mast cell tumors are incompletely or closely resected.