|Ultrasound image of kidney lymphoma in a cat|
The most common hematopoietic cancer diagnosed in cats is lymphoma. While several prognostic factors have been documented, another prognostic factor recently evaluated is weight loss. Body weight may be a simple, objective, and practical marker of patient status over time. It is common in clinical practice to use body weight as an assessment of both response to and tolerance of therapy. This study looked at the prognostic significance of weight changes during treatment of cats with lymphoma. Another purpose was to compare weight changes according to baseline body weight, lymphoma cell type (large versus small cell), and tumor location.
The records of 209 cats treated for lymphoma with chemotherapy from 1995 to 2007 were evaluated. Cats with large cell lymphoma had a significantly shorter survival time if they had lost ≥ 5% of their weight at 1 month of treatment than those that had gained weight or had a stable weight. Weight loss and other clinical signs experienced by cats undergoing lymphoma treatment may be a result of the disease itself as well as chemotherapy side effects and it may be challenging to tell the difference. The first 2 months of treatment may be the best time to begin therapeutic interventions and nutritional support in addition to chemotherapy to decrease weight loss. [VT]