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J Vet Intern Med. 2009 Sep-Oct;23(5):1051-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1676.2009.0354.x. Epub 2009 Jul 28.

Ultrasound-guided cytology of spleen and liver: a prognostic tool in canine cutaneous mast cell tumor.

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Dipartimenti di Scienze Cliniche Veterinarie, Facolt√° di Medicina Veterinaria, Universit√° degli Studi di Milano, Milano, via Ponzio 7, 20133 Milano, Italia.



In the clinical staging of cutaneous mast cell tumors (cMCT), the diagnosis of metastasis is controversial based on cytological examination of lymph nodes, spleen, liver, bone marrow, and blood.


To define the prognostic role of ultrasound-guided cytology of spleen and liver in cMCT. The results of cytological evaluation were compared in relation with survival time.


Fifty-two client-owned dogs with a diagnosis of cMCT.


Selection of cases was based on cytological evaluation of liver and spleen to detect infiltration at distant sites. The Kaplan Meier method was used to compare survival in dogs with and without infiltration of spleen and liver (log-rank test P < .05).


Ten dogs with cMCT had mast cell infiltration of spleen, liver, or both and 4 of these dogs had involvement of the regional lymph nodes. The majority of dogs had 2 or more ultrasonographically abnormal findings simultaneously in spleen and liver. Nine dogs had grade II cMCT, and 1 had grade III cMCT. Dogs with positive evidence of mast cell infiltration to spleen, liver, or both had shorter survival times (34 versus 733 days) compared with dogs negative for mast cell infiltration at distant sites.


Dogs with evidence of mast cell infiltration at distant sites have a shorter survival times than dogs without evidence of infiltration at distant sites. This study suggests that cytology of spleen and liver is indicated either for ultrasonographically normal or for ultrasonographically abnormal spleen and liver in dogs with cMCT.

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