These primary tumors, which are powerfully expressive of tyrosine kinase, are among the most common primary neural tumours traditionally associated with older brachycephalic breeds such as the Boston Terrier and Boxer. They usually present without clinical or histological evidence of a less malignant precursor lesion.
With peripheral spinal cord glioblastomas, a visible mass is often evident associated with the spinal column, which is often painful upon palpation.
Routine blood count, serum chemistry profile, urinalysis, thoracic radiographs, and abdominal ultrasound are usually unrewarding. However, imaging studies such as CT or MRI usually elucidate a mass lesion within the brain or associated with the spinal cord.
Definitive diagnosis requires histopathological analysis of neoplastic tissue. Glioblastomas produce a mass effect and peritumoral edema causing midline shifts of neuronal tissue with the cardinal features of necrosis or microvascular proliferation.
These tumors appear histologically as highly vascular and pleomorphic astrocytic tumor cell populations interspersed with areas of serpentine necrosis bordered by pseudopalisading glial cells. Numerous bizarre, multinucleated giant cells may also be observed.
Immunohistochemically, these tumors uniformly express vimentin and glial fibrillary acid protein.
Treatment with surgical excision is rarely curative although radiation therapy or chemotherapy may prolong survival in younger dogs.
The use of COX-2 inhibitors, though beneficial with human glioblastomas, has been shown to be ineffective against the canine counterpart.
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