Canine Splenic Hemangiosarcoma Trial

Clinical evaluation of propranolol in combination with doxorubicin for the treatment of splenic hemangiosarcoma in dogs.


Dr. Michael Childress


Hemangiosarcoma of the spleen is a life-threatening cancer in dogs for which few effective treatments exist. Survival times for dogs treated with standard therapy – surgical removal of the spleen followed by doxorubicin chemotherapy – are usually in the range of 4-6 months. Recent research in dogs and in humans with a similar cancer called angiosarcoma suggests that a class of drugs called beta blockers may be effective for treating hemangiosarcoma. The purpose of this study is to determine the optimal dose of the beta blocker drug, propranolol, to use in combination with doxorubicin chemotherapy for dogs that have previously undergone surgical removal of the spleen to treat hemangiosarcoma.


  • Histopathologic confirmation of splenic hemangiosarcoma, as confirmed by biopsy of a surgically removed spleen.
  • Surgical removal of spleen performed within 2 weeks of initial presentation to Purdue University Veterinary Hospital
  • No evidence of cancer metastasis identified at the time of surgery or at the time of initial presentation to Purdue University

Exclusion Criteria

  • Evidence of hemangiosarcoma metastasis at baseline
  • Body weight ≤ 15 kg
  • Significant organ dysfunction preventing safe treatment with doxorubicin
    • Heart disease - including, but not limited to, cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, ventricular arrhythmia, AV block
    • Serious kidney or liver dysfunction
    • Serious bone marrow dysfunction
    • Serious blood clotting problems
  • Prior treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy for hemangiosarcoma
  • Prior treatment with herbal or holistic products – e.g. I’m-Yunity, yunnan baiyao, CBD oil
  • Dogs with high breed-associated risk for carrying the ABCB1-1D (MDR1-1D) mutation in the multidrug resistance gene will be excluded from the trial unless documentation can be provided that they do not carry the mutation.
    • These breeds include: Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Old English sheepdogs, among others.  For more information see:

Financial Support

  • Owners of dogs qualifying for the study will be responsible for $150 for the cost of initial staging diagnostic tests (regular cost approximately $1,100)
  • Owners of dogs qualifying for the study will be responsible for $100 towards each doxorubicin chemotherapy treatment involved in the study (maximum of 5 treatments, normal cost $475 each).
  • All other costs associated with trial participation (e.g. x-rays, ultrasonography for restaging; cost of propranolol) are borne by the study and are at no cost to the owner

Trial Starting Date

Not currently enrolling.

For Questions, Please Call

Dr. Michael Childress at 765-494-1107