Prognostic histopathologic features of canine glial tumors

Joshua L. Merickel, G. Elizabeth Pluhar, Aaron Rendahl, M. Gerard O’Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Gliomas are relatively common tumors in aged dogs (especially brachycephalic breeds), and the dog is proving to be useful as a translational model for humans with brain tumors. Hitherto, there is relatively little prognostic data for canine gliomas and none on outcome related to specific histological features. Histologic sections of tumor biopsies from 33 dogs with glioma treated with surgical resection and immunotherapy and 21 whole brains obtained postmortem were reviewed. Tumors were diagnosed as astrocytic, oligodendroglial, or undefined glioma using Comparative Brain Tumor Consortium criteria. Putative features of malignancy were evaluated, namely, mitotic counts, glomeruloid vascularization, and necrosis. For biopsies, dogs with astrocytic tumors lived longer than those with oligodendroglial or undefined tumor types (median survival 743, 205, and 144 days, respectively). Dogs with low-grade gliomas lived longer than those with high-grade gliomas (median survival 734 and 194 days, respectively). Based on analysis of tumor biopsies, low mitotic counts, absence of glomeruloid vascularization, and absence of necrosis correlated with increased survival (median 293, 223, and 220 days, respectively), whereas high mitotic counts, glomeruloid vascularization, and necrosis correlated with poor survival (median 190, 170, and 154 days, respectively). Mitotic count was the only histological feature in biopsy samples that significantly correlated with survival (P <.05). Whole-brain analyses for those same histologic features had similar and more robust correlations, and were statistically significant for all features (P <.05). The small size of biopsy samples may explain differences between biopsy and whole-brain tumor data. These findings will allow more accurate prognosis for gliomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-951
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The work was supported by funding from the American Cancer Society, RSG LIB-117294, NIH NINDS 5R21 NS070955, and NIH P30 CA077598.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • astrocytoma
  • biopsy
  • dogs
  • glioma
  • histopathology
  • malignancy
  • neoplasia
  • neuropathology
  • oligodendroglioma
  • prognosis
  • survival


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