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Vet Radiol Ultrasound. 2008 Mar-Apr;49(2):189-95.

Osteoradionecrosis and radiation induced bone tumors following orthovoltage radiation therapy in dogs.

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  • 1Harrington Oncology Program, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA, USA.


Osteoradionecrosis and radiation-induced bone tumors are rare complications of radiation therapy. Little information regarding these complications is available in veterinary medicine. We characterized these complications and investigated risk factors in 119 dogs (122 sites) that received definitive orthovoltage radiation therapy to appendicular sites. Long-term survival was expected in all dogs. The complications of interest were osteoradionecrosis and secondary bone tumor, evaluated radiographically, histopathologically, or both. Complication rates were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier product-limit method, and Fisher's exact test or chi-square test was used to compare the complication rate. The median survival time was 1405 days, with median follow-up duration of 657 days. There were 10 radiation-induced bone tumors and five radiation-induced fractures, with two dogs developing both, for an overall complication rate of 11%. The latent period ranged from 1.2 to 6.4 years for osteoradionecrosis and from 2.6 to 8.7 years for radiation-induced bone tumor. Complications were significantly higher in the humerus (P < 0.0001), and in dogs younger than 7 years (P = 0.014). Similar assessment of complications in dogs irradiated with megavoltage photons or electrons are needed.

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