Oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) develops in the jaw, gum, and under the tongue of cats. Oral SCC aggressively invades local tissue, causes bone destruction, and spreads to other parts of the body. The options for the treatment of oral SCC are limited and less than 10% of cats survive one year from the time of diagnosis. In most cases, the treatment goals are to palliate pain until the oral tumor has advanced to a stage where comfortable eating and breathing are not possible.
Cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme is important for inflammation and tumor growth. It has been shown that COX-2 inhibitors, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as piroxicam, meloxicam, and celecoxib) could be used for the detection of the COX-2 in tumors. This study will use new COX-2 inhibitors labeled with fluorescence or radio-tracers to detect the oral SCC as well as metastatic sites. In addition, the study will assess in vitro potential treatment with different COX-2 inhibitors alone or in combination with a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, masitinib, using the cells originated from the cat’s SCC tumors. Masitinib inhibits epidermal growth factor receptor, which is also responsible for the growth of SCC. The most effective treatment in cells will be used to treat cats with oral SCC.