What is Hemangiosarcoma ?

Hemangiosarcoma is an aggressive and deadly cancer of blood vessel cells.

Hemangiosarcoma is a rapidly fatal disease. The lifetime risk is alarmingly high for some breeds like Golden Retrievers (~20% will die of this disease) and Portuguese Water Dogs (~15% will die of this disease). The risk of hemangiosarcoma is not limited to just these breeds but is considered a research priority for 40 different breed Parent Clubs. Despite considerable efforts to find effective treatments, the outcome for dogs with hemangiosarcoma has changed very little over the past 30 years. Recent evidence suggests hemangiosarcoma conforms to the "cancer stem cell" model, where a defined subset of cells is responsible for initiating and maintaining the tumor. These cells are resistant to conventional therapies and are very adaptable, being able to survive in a variety of tissues in the body.

Lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma are major health problems in Golden Retrievers, causing both suffering and premature death. Through ongoing collaboration, Drs. Jaime Modiano, Matthew Breen, and Kerstin Lindblad-Toh have identified several regions of the genome that contain genetic heritable risk factors for lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma in Golden Retrievers. They have tumor-specific mutations that occur recurrently in both cancers, some of which are linked to duration of remission when treated with standard of care. Their results indicate that a few heritable genetic risk factors account for as much as 50% of the risk for these cancers.

For more information about the AKC Canine Health Foundation supported studies to this link.