Describe your case - We are happy to help you:
Free Consultation:+49-5522-9182581* (Mo-Sa: 08:30 - 19:00) or*

Mast cell tumor in dogs

If your dog has a mast cell tumor, dendritic cell therapy is probably the right treatment option. When treating a mast cell tumour or mast cell tumour (both spellings are common) it is important that you start treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis. The earlier the tumour is detected and the earlier treatment begins, the better the prognosis and life expectancy for your dog. General information about mast cell tumors in dogs can be found further down on this page.

Unlike chemotherapy or other commonly used drugs such as Masivet or Palladia, dendritic cell therapy does not treat the symptoms of a mast cell tumour but the cause. In addition to mast cell tumors, dendritic cell therapy can also be used for other types of tumors in dogs.

The goal of PetBioCell is to use dendritic cell therapy to improve the quality of life of patients and increase life expectancy. At PetBioCell you can get free advice on the different treatment options for a mast cell tumor of your dog.
PetBioCell offers dendritic cell therapy for your dog in cooperation with your veterinarian, we will gladly explain the procedure to you.  

General Information

Mast cells primarily serve your dog to fight inflammation and allergies. They are stimulated by irritation and activate various biological substances (e.g. histamine, serotonin, prostaglandin and proteolytic enzymes). In terms of their function, mast cells are therefore actually vital for your dog's survival. If overproduced, they can be life-threatening.

Mast cells are derived from precursor cells in the bone marrow and settle in many parts of the body. This means that they have an important physiological function, as they participate in allergic, immune and inflammatory reactions in the body from the areas where they settle.

The mast cell tumour or mast cell tumour (also known as mastocytoma), is an accumulation of degenerated (neoplastic) mast cells of the skin or subcutis on the limbs, trunk and head. In rare cases, mast cell tumors of the internal organs are also found. About 25 percent of all skin tumors are mast cell tumors. By the way, these can occur in dogs of all ages, although older dogs are usually more likely to be affected.


The frequent occurrence in certain breeds is striking, which is a sign of a genetic component in the development of mast cell tumours. About one third of all cancers in dogs are mast cell tumors, whereby especially Boxer, Retriever, Dachshund, Boston Terrier, the English Bulldog and Bernese Mountain Dog have an increased disposition for this disease.


  • Free advice
  • Treatment in familiar environment
  • Increase in quality of life
  • No anaesthesia
  • Immediate start of treatment
  • No toxic substances
  • Strengthening of the immune system

Signs of a mast cell tumor in your dog

Any lump of skin you feel in your dog could potentially be a mast cell tumour. But it doesn't have to be that way. Consult your vet together with your dog if you notice any abnormalities. Suspicious areas range from nodular, doughy, hairless or hair-covered knots to weeping and open wounds. The tumour usually appears in the form of individual skin nodes. Only in 11-14 percent of cases is it distributed over several sites (multiple mast cell tumour) in or on the body.

The overproduction of mast cells causes various substances. These can have various effects on your dog's body and/or on individual areas of the body. Some of the possible symptoms include  

  • Local swellings
  • Vomiting
  • Shock symptoms
  • Itching
  • Bleeding tendencies
  • Wound healing disorders
  • Ulcers of the stomach and small intestine (more rarely)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Changed behaviour

Diagnosis of mast cell tumor in dogs

Because the appearance of mast cell tumors is so varied, you should have an accurate diagnosis made. For example, a fine needle aspiration may be considered. Here, cells are removed from the affected areas with the help of a fine needle. These are then examined under a microscope. However, this examination can only provide initial indications of the disease and should be followed by an operation if the diagnosis is positive. According to Klopfleisch, the possibility of differentiation in fine needle biopsies has so far been limited due to the limited number of cells to be examined, i.e. the small sample quantity.

Afterwards, the tumour should be removed in a surgical procedure, pathologically examined and subjected to a clear histopathological differentiation (grade I to III).

The course and prognosis of mast cell tumours in dogs

Overall, the histological classification (grading) of mast cell tumors follows a scheme of kiupel:




Survival prognosis


Minor degeneration of the mast cells.

Surgery in healthy tissue

Over 2 years


Severe degeneration of the mast cells*

Surgery with clear margins in healthy tissue (3 cm)**

Approx. 4 months

* In ten 400x microscope fields: ≥ 6 Mitosis figures or more than 2 multinuclear cells or more than 2 bizarre nuclei or anisokaryosis (different size of tumor cells) to a certain exten                                                      

** Should be combined with an additional treatment Possible: radiotherapy, chemotherapy and dendritic cell therapy.

It is important to know whether the tumour has already metastasised or not. Mast cell tumours grade II and III should also be further examined in the laboratory for malignancy. There is a classification into low and high malignant. High malignant tumors are more aggressive and require urgent further treatment, even if they are grade II at the initial assessment.

Mast cell tumours in dogs usually metastasise relatively late, so they initially remain only in the place where they occurred and do not spread to other organs. The higher the degree of mast cell tumour, i.e. the more aggressive the tumour, the higher the probability that the tumour will spread to other organs.

Mast cell tumours in dogs do not tend to infiltrate surrounding tissue, but they do displace the surrounding tissue. Invasive bone growth is extremely rare.

A current study shows interesting results for mast cell tumors that are classified as "low grade". According to the study 50 dogs with a low grade mast cell tumor were examined:

  • In half of the dogs a safety distance of at least 20mm in healthy tissue could be maintained.
  • Only in two of the 50 dogs did the mast cell tumor reappear within two years.
  • Only in two dogs metastases were detected within two years after surgery.

Consequently, the prognosis is very positive for mast cell tumors that were classified as "low grade" and which could be removed with a sufficient safety margin in healthy tissue.

Source: Long-term outcomes of dogs undergoing surgical resection of mast cell tumors and soft tissue sarcomas: A prospective 2-year-long study.

Daniel et al. found a further indication of factors that influence the course and prognosis of canine mast cell tumours, and investigated the collagen content of mast cell tumours in addition to the factors mentioned above.

The extracellular matrix of the mast cell tissue has the largest proportion of the dermis, i.e. the middle part of the skin. It consists of fibrous proteins, including collagens, elastin and laminin, which provide strength and elasticity, and proteoglycans, such as dermatan sulphate and hyaluronan, typically consist of several glycosaminoglycan chains (formed from repeating disaccharide units) branching from a linear protein core. Extracellular proteoglycans are large, highly hydrated molecules that help to cushion the cells in the matrix. The integrity of the extracellular matrix (ECM) can play a protective role against tumor progression and favors cell proliferation, angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis when altered. The hypothesis is the researcher was that the amount of collagen and elastin found in mast cell tumors can predict their aggressiveness and survival rate.

And so, in fact, significantly less collagen was found in high grade tumors in the samples studied than in low malignant samples. The investigation of the collagen content could therefore be a further characteristic for the classification of the malignancy of mast cell tumours.

Quality of life and life expectancy

Your dog has a particularly favourable prognosis for healing if the tumour has been completely removed surgically at grade I and II. In grade III, the tumour has metastasised and the recurrence rate, i.e. the probability of recurrence, is relatively high, so the prognosis is correspondingly cautious.
In general, it can be said that the higher the grade of mast cell tumor, the lower the life expectancy and the worse the prognosis of the patient. In later stages, the tumour may also spread to other organs, i.e. form metastases. These reduce life expectancy and worsen the prognosis for your dog. It is therefore important to act quickly.

Treatment of mast cell tumors in dogs

Mast cell tumours should be removed by surgery if possible. Complete removal (complete resection) improves the prognosis and reduces the risk of recurrence.

Radiation therapy is sometimes recommended after surgical removal of the tumour or in the case of changes that cannot be addressed by surgery. Please note that radiation therapy in animals is only carried out under anaesthetic in specialised centres.

Many dog owners are also increasingly turning to immunotherapy - such as dendritic cell therapy.
Information on nutrition in the case of a mast cell tumour in dogs can be found here:/hunde/ernaehrung/mastzelltumor

Treatment of mast cell tumors in dogs with dendritic cell therapy

Gladly PetBioCell is a forum for dog owners to discuss and coordinate the treatment of dogs suffering from mast cell tumors. Regardless of the severity, intensity and aggressiveness of your dog's mast cell tumor, you can enable your dog to treat the tumor with dendritic cell therapy with the least possible effort and improve the prognosis. To this end, your dog will be given a blood sample by your vet. We collect the blood sample from your vet, cultivate the dendritic cells and return them to your vet for application. This procedure is performed three times at four-week intervals.
Our treatment method is particularly gentle and aims at "reviving" the immune system of your four-legged friend. The quality of life can thus be improved and life expectancy increased - through the body's own cells.


The cost of treating the tumor may vary. If a surgical procedure is performed at the beginning in order to remove the tumour mass as far as possible, the costs are usually between 500 and 1200 Euros.

If other treatment options such as chemotherapy are used, additional costs will be added. Depending on the illness, size and weight of your dog, these costs will be around 1000 to 1500 euros. Fixed costs and the cost of medication are not yet included in this calculation.
You are welcome to ask us about the costs of dendritic cell therapy for your patient. There are no additional costs for medication, which for example is intended to suppress the side effects of the therapy - as there are practically none with our gentle immune therapy. The only side effects that occur are usually an increased temperature and a slight exhaustion. However, these can be seen as quite positive. They show that your dog's immune system reacts to the treatment.

Tyrokinase inhibitors

This class of drugs (c-kit inhibitors) act on a genetic change (mutation) found in mast cell tumours. Masivet® (masitinib) and Palladia® (toceranib) are active ingredients that are approved for this purpose. Patient owners have reported relatively many side effects.

 Case description - Mast cell tumor of the leg

We have recorded the case of our patient Chenny and presented it as an example: /hunde/fallbeispiel/mastzelltumor/chenny


Milovancev M et al.: Long-term outcomes of dogs undergoing surgical resection of mast cell tumors and soft tissue sarcomas: A prospective 2-year-long study. Vet Surg. 2019 May 2. doi: 10.1111/vsu.13225

Klopfleisch, R: Kanine Mastzelltumoren – Ist die Gradbestimmung in der Zytologie möglich?, (2018) Der Prakt. Tierarzt 99 11/2018,1142-1160

Kiupel M et al.: Proposal of a 2-tier histologic grading system for canine cutaneous mast cell tumors to more accurately predict biological behavior. (2011) Vet Pathol 48:147-155

Daniel J et al (2019): Intratumoral collagen index predicts mortality andsurvival in canine cutaneous mast cell tumours. Vet Dermatol2019; 30: 162–e48.DOI: 10.1111/vde.12726


Mast cell tumor in dogs
Schildern Sie uns Ihren Fall - Wir nehmen uns gerne Zeit für Sie.

Kostenlose Erstberatung: 05522 / 918 25 82 (Mo-So: 08:30 - 19:00 Uhr) oder*

{{showpage id=3242 }}



Fallbeispiele zur Behandlung mit der dendritischen Zelltherapie.