Prostate Cancer Procedure in Dogs Shows Promise

We're learning more and more that dogs may have a profound effect on prostate cancer research. A new procedure performed on dogs for prostate enlargement shows promise for use in humans for potentially treating prostate cancer. Here's what you need to know. 


A dog has been successfully treatment with a new procedure similar to a human medicine treatment of non-cancerous prostate enlargement. The procedure is called prostatic transarterial embolisation. It's emerging as a minimally invasive alternative to other prostate cancer therapies. 

The first step is to perform a CT and MRI scan for a full assessment of the tumor in the prostate gland and its association with blood supply. Once this is mapped, the tumor is evaluated minimally invasively (deemed interventional radiology techniques) using fluoroscopic guidance (x-rays in real-time).

A catheter is used and the blood supply to the tumor is identified. Materials are then injected into blood vessels that supply the tumor. This causes a vessel blockage, cutting off supply and nutrients to the tumor. From there, the size of the tumor decreases as cells die from lack of blood supply. 

A leading veterinary surgeon has performed this procedure on 6 dogs to date and early results are promising. CT and MRI images of one of the dogs tumors showed signs consistent with cancerous prostate tissue. To date, the dog's prostate has decreased in size.The hope continues to be all dogs who have this minimally invasive procedure will result in a decreased tumor and improve the quality of life for those with prostate cancer. 

What researchers need is the recruitment of more dogs with naturally occurring prostate cancer to further evaluate the effectiveness of this procedure, perhaps leading to an accepted standard of care.


A recent study published in the Journal of Urology also found that dogs are able to detect prostate cancer with up to 98 percent accuracy. The study was carried out by the Department of Urology at the Humanitas Clinical and Research Center in Milan. 

Researchers analyzed urine samples from 900 men. Of the 900 men, 360 of them had prostate cancer while the other 540 did not. Using two specially trained German Shepherds, the men’s urine samples were sniffed to detect chemicals that were linked to prostate cancer. 

The two trained German Shepherds were able to detect the prostate cancer-specific chemicals linked to prostate cancer with extremely high accuracy.These prostate-cancer specific chemicals are otherwise known as volatile organic compounds.The first dog was able to detect prostate cancer with98.7 percent accuracy, while the second dog was able to detect prostate cancer with 97.6 percent accuracy.

This research supports prior tests performed by the charity, Medical Detection Dogs. Medical Detection Dogs is located in Milton Keynes and what they do is specially train dogs to detect odors associated with human disease. They also train dogs to help peoplewho have life-threatening medical illness or disease that need help keeping up with their regular daily lives.  

Dr. Claire Guest, the co-founder of the Medical Detection Dogs, said: “These results are spectacular. They offer us further proof that dogs have the ability to detect human cancer.” She also said the research found a 93 percent accuracy rate when detecting bladder cancer as well as prostate cancer.