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Keywords:

  • dog;
  • nasal tumor;
  • radiation therapy;
  • cobalt;
  • predictive factors

Improvements in survival of dogs with nasal tumors have been slow to develop throughout the past three decades. Despite multiple studies examining various radiation time-dose schema, the advancement of CT-based computerized treatment planning, and the evaluation of detailed staging systems, the optimal treatment regimen, and most important prognostic factors regarding survival remain unclear. In this study, data from four previous studies were combined with data from 44 additional dogs, and this population of 130 dogs was evaluated for factors which influenced survival. Twenty-one dogs were treated with orthovoltage at the University of Pennsylvania. One hundred nine dogs were treated with cobalt photons at North Carolina State University. Sixty-five of these 109 dogs had been previously described. Of the 44 dogs not previously described, 35 were treated with a shrinking field technique. Survival was determined from the medical record, or from information derived by telephone or mail survey. The univariate Cox regression model was used to examine for relationship between various patient, tumor, and treatment variables and survival. Significant relationships identified in the univariate analysis were further analyzed using the multivariate Cox regression model. Median survival of the 130 dogs was 8.9 months (95% C.I., 8–11 months). In the univariate analysis, the following variables were associated with decreased survival: 1) age >10 years old, 2) regional lymph node metastasis, 3) advanced tumor stage, 4) use of megavoltage radiation, 5) overall total dose >55 Gray, and 6) boost technique performed. In a multivariate analysis of 125 dogs with complete data for age, radiation type, and radiation dose, age (p< .001) and radiation type (p = .02) were identified as joint predictors of survival. After adjusting for age, the staging system lost prognostic significance (p = .06). In a subset of dogs that received cobalt radiation, after adjusting for age, dogs treated with a boost technique had decreased survival (p = .001). In general, local control of canine nasal tumors following aggressive radiation therapy is poor. Early diagnosis and selection of appropriate patients is warranted and palliative types of treatment should be considered in dogs with a poor chance of long term survival.