Despite the fact that advances in surgical techniques have led to marked improvements in the
prognosis of cancer patients, a method that limits the risks of leaving cancer cells behind, would
be advantageous to surgical oncologists and their patients. During surgical procedures, the
surgeon subjectively identifies the tissues to be removed. With inadequate margins, tumor
recurrence will occur. Furthermore, knowledge of the presence of metastatic disease is extremely
important to judge whether adjuvant therapy would be advisable. If the patient is still free of
metastases, potential side effects of extra treatment can be avoided. However, if metastatic
disease is present, necessary measurements can be taken. In this respect, the evaluation of the
draining lymph nodes (sentinel lymph node mapping) of tumors that preferentially spread by the
lymphatics (such as breast, colon/rectum, and prostate) is very important.
In the proposed oncology project, mapping of the draining lymph nodes will be optimized by
comparing different fluorescent contrast agents in dogs with spontaneous cancer types that are
known to spread via the lymphatic route. The proposed project should reveal a protocol that is
safe for the patient and practitioner, financially affordable and practical in use. The general
objective of this research project is to correctly identify the draining lymph nodes in order to limit
the patient morbidity while improving the prognosis.