Treating lymphoma in dogs and cats - Veterinary Medicine
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Treating lymphoma in dogs and cats
Systemic chemotherapy with multiple drugs continues to be the cornerstone of treatment for lymphoma, but some alternatives show promise, especially for specific types of lymphoma.


Radiation therapy for nasal lymphoma

FIGURE 7. A contrast-enhanced transverse computed tomographic image of a cat with a history of chronic stertor, nasal discharge, and decreased appetite. The mass occupies the entire right nasal passage and invades the nasopharynx. Histologic examination of biopsy samples confirmed B-cell lymphoma of the nasal cavity.
Radiation therapy for regionally confined lymphoma can be rewarding. In cats, lymphoma is the most common nasal tumor (Figure 7). Although large prospective studies are lacking, evidence from a limited number of cats treated for nasal lymphoma with radiation therapy was favorable, with treated cats achieving a median survival time of 19 months.23-25 In our experience, disease progression in cats with nasal lymphoma appears to be more often associated with local regrowth rather than multicentric dissemination. So the benefit of treating feline nasal lymphoma with systemic chemotherapy in addition to curative-intent radiation requires further investigation.


Lymphoma is a common hematologic malignancy in dogs and cats that usually responds well to therapy. Systemic chemotherapy remains the cornerstone for treating disseminated disease, while radiation therapy may be useful for localized tumor burdens. Most dogs and cats receiving therapy are provided with good quality-of-life scores and prolonged survival times. As newer treatment protocols are investigated and validated for use in companion animals, veterinary practitioners will be able to offer and successfully institute these additional therapeutic options.

Timothy M. Fan, DVM, DACVIM (internal medicine, oncology)
Louis-Philippe de Lorimier, DVM
Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL 61802


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