Ultrasound is a poor predictor of early or overt liver or spleen metastasis in dogs with high-risk mast cell tumours

Evi Pecceu, Juan Carlos Serra Varela, Ian Handel, Chiara Piccinelli, Elspeth Milne, Jessica Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Conflicting evidence exists regarding the importance of routine abdominal ultrasound (US) with hepatic and splenic fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytology during staging of canine mast cell tumours (MCT). The objective of this study was to correlate ultrasonographic and cytologic findings in dogs with strictly defined high-risk MCTs and to determine the influence on outcome. Our hypothesis was that US poorly predicts visceral metastasis in high-risk MCTs and that early metastasis is associated with improved outcome when compared to overt metastasis. US of liver and spleen correlated to cytologic results, categorized as no metastasis, early metastasis or overt metastasis. Of 82 dogs prospectively enrolled, 18% had early visceral metastasis and 7% had overt metastasis on cytology; 67% with visceral metastasis had regional LN metastasis. US was a poor predictor of metastasis with sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value for the spleen of 67%, 68%, 21% and 94%, respectively and for the liver of 29%, 93%, 56% and 82%, respectively. Median time to progression (TTP) for dogs with no metastasis, early metastasis and overt metastasis was not reached, 305 and 69 days, respectively (P <.001). Median survival time (MST) for the 3 groups were not reached, 322 and 81 days, respectively (P <.001). High Patnaik or Kiupel grade, early metastasis, overt metastasis and adequate local control were significantly associated with outcome. Early visceral metastasis was associated with poorer outcome compared to dogs without metastasis, however, a subset of dogs experienced long-term control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-401
Number of pages13
JournalVeterinary and Comparative Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • canine
  • cytology
  • mast cell tumour
  • metastasis
  • ultrasound


Dive into the research topics of 'Ultrasound is a poor predictor of early or overt liver or spleen metastasis in dogs with high-risk mast cell tumours'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this