The relative risk of a recurrence of cancer is reduced by 60 percent in dogs whose tumors are completely removed, a new analysis by Oregon State University researchers has found.
The researchers reviewed published veterinary studies and found a recurrence of less than 10 percent in dogs where the soft tissue sarcoma was completely excised, versus 33 percent recurrence in cases where the cancer was incompletely excised, meaning there was microscopic evidence that tumor cells remained after surgery.
“You want to get all of the tumor out if you can,” said Dr. Milan Milovancev, an associate professor of small animal surgery in the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine. “That’s what most veterinarians, including myself, have thought, but this makes it more official. Now we can say, here’s the data.”
The study is a meta-analysis – an analysis of existing studies, used to identify overall trends – of canine soft tissue sarcoma. Meta-analyses are not common in the relatively young field of veterinary medicine research, but likely will be used more as the field moves toward more evidence-based research practices, Dr. Milovancev said.
The body of research on removal of soft tissue sarcoma in dogs offered conflicting information to veterinarians, which made the topic a good one for a meta-analysis. Dr. Milovancev approached Dr. Veronica Irvin, a public health researcher, for assistance with the study because these types of studies are much more common in human health research.
“Meta-analysis is seen as the best science,” said co-author Dr. Irvin, an assistant professor at Oregon State University College of Public Health and Human Sciences. “This kind of work fits with mine because it raises questions about how we make veterinary medicine more transparent and rigorous.”Friday Letter Submission