No one likes to hear the "C" word - cancer. But today the news is good. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today that it has approved the first canine cancer therapy in the US. The drug is called Palladiatm (toceranib phosphate) and it is used for treatment of Mast Cell Tumors (MCT) in dogs.
"In the weeks and months ahead, Pfizer will introduce Palladia to boarded specialists to expand the body of clinical experience with this new therapy. The experience gained during this time will enable us to support veterinarians more effectively when we make the product available for purchase in early 2010," said George Fennell, vice president, Companion Animal Division, Pfizer Animal Health. Full article
Mast cells are produced in the bone marrow and found in connective tissues. They are part of the immune system and release histamine in response to parasites, allergens or trauma. (For example, squeezing this type of tumor can cause it to enlarge in size.) Mast cell tumors are a common skin tumor in dogs and cats, but can be found anywhere in the body. Clinical appearance can vary greatly: raised, hairless, soft, firm, ulcerated, etc., so a fine needle aspirate or biopsy is required for positive diagnosis. A tissue biopsy is needed to stage (grade) the tumor.
Because of the unpredictable nature of this tumor, malignancy is usually assumed until proven otherwise. Wide margins must be obtained when removing these tumors. Lymph nodes and spleen should also be evaluated. MCTs are classified as Grade I, II or III. Grade III is the most severe. Between 7 and 21% of all canine skin tumors are mast cell tumors.1
According to the Morris Animal Foundation, 1 in 4 dogs die of cancer. News of this new treatment is encouraging for this common and potentially serious form of cancer. Hopefully this will open the doors for additional anti-cancer therapies in the near future.
Updates to this story
- April 12, 2011: To learn more about Palladia and your pet, find a veterinary oncologist in your area to discuss case specifics and drug availability.
- December 27, 2010: Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine is investigating the use of Palladia™ for nasal carcinomas in dogs.
Related Stories in the News:
- First Drug to Treat Cancer in Dogs Approved
From the FDA
- Palladia approval summary (PDF)
From the FDA
- FDA approves Pfizer cancer drug for dogs
- FDA approves cancer drug for dogs
- FDA approves drug to treat cancer in dogs
From United Press International (UPI)
More about Mast Cell Tumors:
- Mast Cell Tumors (MCT) Canine and Feline information
From Veterinary Partner
- Cytological lymph node evaluation in dogs with mast cell tumours: association with grade and survival
More about Lumps and Bumps:
Reference: 1Mast Cell Tumor Incidence - Veterinary Partner
Photo: Mast Cell Tumor On The Side Of A 3 Year Old Boxer dog © Joel Mills