A Better Way to Target and Treat Canine Cancer Tumors


Harper (Haley’s little sissy) and I have a new favorite friend: Bucky (in the foreground above), who has a nasal tumor, so he was top-of-mind when researching this post.

CyberKnife is a non-invasive option to surgery to treat cancerous tumors in the head, spine, lung, prostate, bone, liver, kidney, pancreas and perianal region — in dogs, cats and humans.

The treatment is conventional: it uses a high dose of radiation called stereotactic radiosurgery to target the tumor with great accuracy, but it is said to be pain-free, does not cut the skin and does not have the side effects that make radiation intolerable for some patients. Treatment requires between two to three treatments per week.

According to the Integrative Veterinary Care Journal, “Cyberknife radiosurgery relies on real-time body imaging to guide radiation delivery by an intelligent robotic arm. This technology enables high dose gradients to be delivered with sub-millimeter accuracy to the neoplastic masses and the targets of choice. Because stereotactic radiosurgery is delivered with such accuracy and precision, much higher doses of radiation can be directed at tumors without the concern of affecting surrounding normal tissues. This avoids or minimizes side effects typically associated with definitive conventional radiation therapy.”

Findings include:

  • Survival over 30 months and 19.4 months in dogs and cats with brain tumors compared to conventional radiation therapy survival rates of between eight and 23.3 months.
  • For dogs with nasal tumors (carcinomas, adenocarcinomas and sarcomas), the survival rate is comparable to conventional radiation therapy, but because the CyberKnife beams can avoid the eyes and brain, side effects generally associated with conventional radiation are eliminated.
  • For osteosarcoma (OSA), or canine bone tumors, in the appendicular (thorax, pelvis, forelimbs and hind limbs) and axial skeleton (skull, vertebral column, ribs and sternum), survival times range from 255 to 572 days using stereotactic radiosurgery compared to the one-year survival time using the current standard amputation and chemotherapy.
  • Other tumors that have responded to treatment include: transitional cell carcinomas of the urethra in dogs (survival range between 81 and 860 days) and canine multilobular osteochondrosarcomas (survival of 252 days).

Read the full article here.

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