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Open Access Research article

The effect of interleukin-2 on canine peripheral nerve sheath tumours after marginal surgical excision: a double-blind randomized study

Annika N Haagsman1*, Astrid C S Witkamp1, Bart E Sjollema2, Marja J L Kik3 and Jolle Kirpensteijn1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Postbus 80154, 3508, TD Utrecht, The Netherlands

2 Animal Medical Centre Amsterdam (AMCA), Isolatorweg 45, 1014AS Amsterdam, The Netherlands

3 Department of Pathobiology, Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan1, 3584CL Utrecht, The Netherlands

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BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:155  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-155

Published: 8 August 2013



The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect on outcomes of intraoperative recombinant human interleukin-2 injection after surgical resection of peripheral nerve sheath tumours. In this double-blind trial, 40 patients due to undergo surgical excision (<5 mm margins) of presumed peripheral nerve sheath tumours were randomized to receive intraoperative injection of interleukin-2 or placebo into the wound bed.


There were no significant differences in any variable investigated or in median survival between the two groups. The median recurrence free interval was 874 days (range 48–2141 days), The recurrence-free interval and overall survival time were significantly longer in dogs that undergone the primary surgery by a specialist-certified surgeon compared to a referring veterinarian regardless of whether additional adjunct therapy was given.


Overall, marginal excision of peripheral nerve sheath tumours in dogs resulted in a long survival time, but adjuvant treatment with recombinant human interleukin-2 (rhIL-2) did not provide a survival advantage.

Sarcoma; Dog; rhIL2; PNST; Surgery; Intralesional; Injection