Aortic chondrosarcoma

From Dog
Macroscopic view of a resected aortic chondrosarcoma in a dog. Note the multilobulated firm glistening mass completely obliterating the lumen[1]

Primary aortic chondrosarcoma is a rare neoplasm of the canine aorta[2].

Most frequently, the flat bones (ribs, scapula, and skull) are affected, but involvement of the femur, ulna and tibia have also been reported[3].

Aortic chondrosarcomas are usually locally invasive within the aortic intima and may cause dissecting aneurysms as they invade the aortic wall[4].

Some cases develop as secondary metastases from primary bone growths[5].

Clinically affected dogs usually present with vague cardiac symptoms associated with congestive heart failure (dyspnea, pale mucous membranes), syncope, neurological signs or associated limb pain due to thromboembolism[6]. Rare cases of retinal detachment have also been reported. Concurrent pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism may contribute to development of this tumor.

Diagnosis is based on presenting clinical signs and supportive imaging by radiographic or ultrasound. Echocardiographic examination may reveal an obstructive, intraluminal aortic mass[7].

A definitive diagnosis is difficult antemortem, and is usually based on histological examination of biopsied material.

Primary aortic malignancies can be treated by palliative resection, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. These solid body tumors are often refractory to adjuvant therapy in the form of radiation or chemotherapy and most cases succumb eventually to regional recurrence[8].


  1. Lee BR et al (2011) Abdominal aortic chondrosarcoma in a dog. J Vet Med Sci 73(11):1473-1476
  2. Sullivan DJ (196) Cartilagenous tumors (chondroma and chondrosarcoma) in animals. Am J Vet Res 21:531-535
  3. Liu SK et al (1977) Primary and secondary bone tumors in the dog. J Sm Anim Pract 18:313-326
  4. Anderson WI et al (1988) Primary aortic chondrosarcoma in a dog. Vet Pathol 25(2):180-181
  5. Dernell, WS et al (2001) Tumors of the skeletal system. pp. 378–417. In : Withrow & MacEwen’s Small Animal Clinical Oncology, 3rd ed. (Withrow, S. J. and MacEwen, E. G. eds), Saunders, Philadelphia
  6. ro-Vadillo, A et al (2004) Clinical and pathological features of a cardiac chondrosarcoma in a dog. Vet Rec 155:678–680
  7. Cohen JA et al (2010) Aortic dissection associated with an obstructive aortic chondrosarcoma in a dog. J Vet Cardiol 12(3):203-210
  8. Maher, ER & McNiel, EA (1977) Pheochromocytoma in dogs and cats. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 27:359–380