Clinical Investigation Center

ILC as a predictive indicator of tumor margins

English cocker spanielStudy title: Prospective investigation of intraoperative lavage cytology as a predictive indicator of tumor margins and behavior in dogs and cats
Current Status: Open and enrolling
Principal Investigators:
Wanda Gordon-Evans, DVM ,PhD, DACVS, DACVSMR
Jessica Lawrence, DVM, DACVIM-Onc, DACVR-Rad Onc, DECVDI-Rad Onc
Davis Seelig, DVM, PhD, DACVP

Contact: Chris Thomson, DVM - Small Animal Surgery Resident, or 612-626-8387 (VMC main number)

This is a pilot study of a diagnostic test that has yet to be fully studied in veterinary medicine. In human surgical oncology, intraoperative lavage cytology (ILC) is routinely performed to aid in determining survival times, chances of recurrence, need of additional treatments, and occasionally intraoperative decision making. Intraoperative lavage (washing the body cavity with sterile fluid) is currently being performed as part of nearly all intracavitary (such as chest, abdomen) and peripheral tumor excision surgeries, however, the fluid is discarded. This study is designed for the researches to learn more about this fluid and whether it can be used as benefit to future veterinary patients.

Selection of participants

Eligible dogs and cats with known tumors that are scheduled for removal by the University of Minnesota Surgery Service are eligible for enrollment in the study. It will be at the surgeon's discretion if the tumor and patient qualifies.

Dogs should not be undergoing a debulking (reducing the size of tumor) or biopsy surgery or have a neoplastic/cancerous effusion (fluid from tumor) present. 

Tumors of particular interest

  • Intrathoracic tumors - pets with lung tumors, mediastinal tumors, thoracic wall tumors, (not heart-based)
  • Intra-abdominal tumors - pets with suspeccted non-sarcoma type tumors
  • Mammary tumors


  • Routine surgical removal of the tumor
  • Immediately after removing the tumor, sterile saline will be washed over the surgical site and collected
  • This fluid will be concentrated and evaluated for ‘free’ tumor cells

Costs of the study:

There will be no additional costs associated with participation in the study. However, you will be responsible for costs associated with surgery and anesthesia, and the initial examination fee.​ ​Once enrolled, the study will pay for the following: administration and collection of the intraoperative lavage fluids, processing and analysis of the cytology samples, and the associated histopathology analysis (approximately $235 value).

For more information, please contact Chris Thomson (see above).