Genetic Analysis of Disseminated Histiocytic Sarcoma


To determine the genetic basis of the disseminated form of Histiocytic Sarcoma (HS) and ultimately identify potential targets for treating the disease.


The disseminated form of Histiocytic Sarcoma is often aggressive, deadly, and resistant to standard drug therapies. Some breeds, such as Bernese Mountain Dogs, have an unusually high incidence of this rare form of cancer. Preliminary data indicate that specific gene expression patterns are associated with the disseminated disease, suggesting the existence of subtype-specific genetic alterations. We seek to identify the full complement of the most important genetic mutations in disseminated HS, and determine their incidence in dogs with genetic predisposition to the disease.


Dogs, especially Bernese Mountain Dogs, diagnosed or strongly suspected to have Histiocytic Sarcoma.

Exclusion Criteria

Due to the sensitivity of our analysis, unfortunately we are unable to accept biopsy tissue obtained in other clinics and fixed in formalin.

Study Design

Dogs will undergo a simple biopsy to remove a small amount of tumor tissue. Genetic analysis of the tumor will be undertaken. No experimental procedures or treatments will be involved.


We will ensure that all study data, including genetic analyses, will remain confidential. We will not publish or disseminate any information that would make it possible to identify a subject.


The study will pay for the cost of a simple biopsy, laboratory analysis of this tissue, and, if elected, the cost for 1 dose of CCNU chemotherapy, which is the current treatment standard for HS. As part of the Oncology Appointment, our cancer specialists will also provide a full consultation regarding further diagnostics, treatment options, and prognosis.

Costs not covered by the study include the consultation appointment, and any further diagnostics and treatments elected.


Mindy Quigley, Clinical Trials Coordinator
Office Phone: 540-231-1363 | Email:

Dr. Nick Dervisis, Principal Investigator

If your query is urgent, please call the Small Animal Hospital on 540-231-4621 and ask for the cardiologist on duty.