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Malignant melanoma in 63 dogs (2001–2011): the effect of carboplatin chemotherapy on survival

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AIMS: The aim of the study was to compare the effect of carboplatin chemotherapy on the survival of canine patients diagnosed with malignant melanoma after loco-regional control or as a sole therapy.

METHODS: A retrospective study of 63 dogs with oral, digital or cutaneous malignant melanoma treated with surgery and/or chemotherapy was undertaken. Dogs were grouped based on the anatomical site of melanoma development. For oral melanoma, dogs were subclassified into two groups: loco-regional control and gross disease. All patients in the digital and cutaneous groups had achieved loco-regional control with surgery. Comparisons between survival data for each group at each anatomical site were then made. Within the loco-regional control groups survival time was compared between those treated with and without chemotherapy post surgery. For the oral melanoma patients with gross disease survival was compared between those treated with chemotherapy and palliative therapy. The toxicity of carboplatin chemotherapy was evaluated overall.

RESULTS: The overall median survival times for patients with oral, digital and cutaneous melanoma were 389, 1,350 days and not reached (with a median follow-up of 776 days) respectively. Median survival time was defined as “not reached” when less than 50% of the subjects died of the disease at the end of the follow-up period, or at the time they were lost to follow-up. The addition of chemotherapy to surgery did not confer a survival benefit in the loco-regional control setting when assessing survival for each anatomical site. For oral melanoma patients with gross disease there was no difference between survival of patients treated with chemotherapy and palliative intent therapy. There was however an improvement in survival in the three dogs that responded to chemotherapy (978 days; p=0.039) compared to the eight non-responders (147 days). On univariate and multivariate analysis, anatomic location was the only variable that was significantly related to survival (p=0.0002 and p=0.009, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: The addition of chemotherapy to local treatments for canine melanoma at oral, digital and cutaneous sites did not lead to a significant increase in survival times. Carboplatin was well tolerated and appeared to have activity against oral melanoma in a subset of patients with gross disease that responded to treatment.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Carboplatin with piroxicam could be considered for patients with gross disease when more traditional therapies, such as surgery or radiation therapy, are declined or are not available. In the loco-regional control setting, prospective randomised blinded studies with matched control groups are required to determine if chemotherapy has a role in the treatment of these types of cancer.

Keywords: Malignant melanoma; canine; carboplatin; chemotherapy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Victorian Animal Cancer Care, 21 Goldsbrough WalkKensington,Victoria,3031, Australia 2: Melbourne Veterinary Specialist CentreOncology Department, 70 Blackburn Road, Glen WaverleyVictoria,3150, Australia

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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