NEW Cancer Drug Approved for DOGS!!!!

by Kathy Dannel Vitcak 3 min read

Many years ago, I lost an absolutely adored bear coat Chinese Shar-Pei to mast cell cancer. It was so fast, so furious and such a heinous blow to me, I have had a huge fear of mast cell cancer as a diagnosis since that day. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to read the news that this cancer has a new drug approved for dogs! Please read the info below and take heart…scientists are working HARD to ensure our dogs have long, healthy lives.

From Lady Bee,

One of the most common types of canine cancer and the number one cause of canine death, cutaneous mast cell tumor, has been treated with steroids and antihistamines and various human oncology drugs for years. Finally, a specific oncology drug for these specific canine cancers has been developed and approved for veterinary use: Palladia (toceranib phosphate) produced by Pfizer Animal Health Inc.

Mast cells have a positive role in helping to protect dogs from inflammation and allergies. But when overstimulated, the chemicals they release, including histamine, heparin, serotonin, and prostaglandins, can actually damage immune function. Unfortunately, what causes the tumors to become cancerous is not known.

from Veterinary Practice Newsfrom Veterinary Practice News Mast cell tumors (MCT) can appear anywhere on a dog’s body as pimply-like protuberances or egg-like bulges. There are so many appearances for the tumors, that the only way to know for sure about a skin irregularity like a bump or a pimple is to have it aspirated by your veterinarian. Most MCTs are benign, but approximately 20 percent of them turn out to be cancerous.

Cancerous MCTs are classified into three grades with grade I being the least severe and limited to the tumor itself. In grade II, the tumor has begun to metastasize, but the cancer is still considered treatable. Grade III tumors are very aggressive and may have spread through the lymph glands to other areas of the body.

Palladia was developed for grades II and III cutaneous mast cell tumors. Palladia is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor and works in two ways: by killing tumor cells and by cutting off the blood supply to the tumor. In its clinical studies, approximately 60 percent of the subject dogs had their tumors “disappear, shrink, or stop growing,” according to a Pfizer researcher.

Pfizer will introduce its new canine cancer treatment to board certified veterinarians before making it available for use in early 2010.

First Cancer Drug for Dogs Approved by FDA


The Food and Drug Administration approved today the first U.S. drug developed specifically for the treatment of canine cancer.

Palladia, chemically known as toceranib phosphate, is manufactured by Pfizer Animal Health and will be available for use in early 2010.

“This cancer drug approval for dogs is an important step forward for veterinary medicine,” Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph. D., director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary medicine, said in a released statement.

“Prior to this approval, veterinarians had to rely on human oncology drugs, without knowledge of how safe or effective they would be for dogs. Today’s approval offers dog owners, in consultation with their veterinarian, an option for treatment of their dog’s cancer.”

Cancer drugs currently used by veterinarians are not approved for use in animals, as they were originally designed for humans. However, according to the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act of 1994, vets are allowed to administer human cancer medicine in an “extra-label” manner.

The Palladia tablet, taken orally, is indicated to treat Patnaik grade II or III recurrent cutaneous mast cell tumors with or without regional lymph node involvement. Common side effects include diarrhea, anorexia, lethargy, vomiting, lameness, weight loss, and blood in stool.

Palladia, a tyrosine kinase inhibtor, works in two ways: by killing tumor cells and by cutting off the blood supply to the tumor. In a clinical trial, approximately 60 percent of dogs had their tumors disappear, shrink, or stop growing.

Pfizer estimates 1.2 million new canine cancer cases are reported in the U.S. every year. And because, according to Phizer research, canine mast cell tumors are the second most common tumor type seen in dogs, Palladia is described by many as a new and exciting treatment option for vets.

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