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Improving treatment for feline oral cancer

Final report, Winn grant W10-043
PET-CT of feline oral squamous cell carcinoma
Investigator: Elissa Randall, Colorado State University
June 27_2012 (2) 
Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is not only the most common oral tumor in cats, but it accounts for about 10% of all feline tumors. To date, treatments have had limited success and short survival times. This study was designed to evaluate an imaging method used in human medicine for head and neck cancers called positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT). PET imaging provides functional information about biological activity in the tumor and tissues, while CT imaging provides anatomic information. Twelve cats with OSCC had PET-CT performed: 7 cases prior to stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) with a second PET-CT after therapy, and 5 cases with imaging performed prior to SRT only.

All the tumors were found to be hypermetabolic on PET scans. Metastasis in local and somewhat distant lymph nodes was detected by PET-CT. Meeting these two objectives indicates that PET-CT is a valid potential tool for tumor staging in cats with OSCC. All the tumors were identified and well-visualized with post-treatment PET-CT. However, residual tumor could not be differentiated from reactive tissue when PET-CTs were performed one month after radiation treatment.

There were no major complications noted in any of the cats during the imaging studies and associated biopsies. PET-CT was found to offer a major benefit in cats with OSCC through better detection and delineation of the primary tumor. This allowed for the development of better treatment plans by radiation oncologists in the study. [VT]