In my last blog, I was getting ready to travel to Paris for The 2nd World Veterinary Cancer Congress. The meeting also provided an excuse for my hubby and me to a vacation in Paris for four days before the meeting.
Our initial days were packed with incredible art, architecture, and views from the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. We tasted the most amazing food – at cafes we found as we wandered the streets to bistros selected by our Parisian friends. No question, the cheeses were my favorite. Then we headed to the village of Bercy in the 12th arrondissement for the meeting.
Similar to the annual Veterinary Cancer Society (VCS) conference in the fall, the meeting consists predominantly of 10 minute abstracts. These are brief presentations that summarize an ongoing or recently completed study. These are typically research projects of current residents or staff oncologists at veterinary schools or teaching hospitals. The meeting does not review basic concepts; this is the meeting for specialists and those training to be specialists. You will not learn how to give chemotherapy or treat lymphoma here. It is expected you have that basic knowledge. This is to see what is new and cutting edge.
For example, at a VCS meeting in San Diego in October 2010, a colleague of mine, Dr. Cheryl London, presented an abstract about Palladia in canine cancers other than mast cell tumors, the tumor that Palladia was designed to treat. I contributed some cases that I treated at Animal Specialty Center to the study.
This study was recently published, in June 2011, in the journal of Veterinary and Comparative Oncology, entitled “Preliminary evidence for biologic activity of toceranib phosphate (Palladia®) in solid tumors.” The tumors in the study included apocrine gland anal sac adenocarcinoma, metastatic osteosarcoma, thyroid carcinoma, head and neck carcinoma and nasal carcinoma. Clinical benefit was observed in 63 of 85 (74%) dogs.
The presentation at the VCS meeting allowed us to share this information eight months before it hit the veterinary journal, allowing other specialists to be aware of the cutting edge research.
So these meeting are an invaluable preview of studies to be published hopefully in the following year. But it is important to know that many studies are not ready to make final conclusions or to say the new treatment was effective or not. The clinical trial may still be adding patients, or it is too early to analyze the data.
So what I learn about at these meetings is often not ready to be implemented in my patients. The meetings keep me aware of what may be on the horizon.
What did I learn about in Paris? The highlights include:
- A new side effect for Lomustine is being reported: kidney toxicity. We don’t yet know how common it is, but I will be double-checking for this in my own patients.
- Preliminary results of a study of rectal lymphoma in dogs shows they did quite well in treatment – only a small number of dogs but interesting data.
- Chemotherapy being used for advanced stage mammary cancer was intriguing – a study from Russia.
- A new palliative radiation protocol uses five treatments in one week, instead of four weekly treatments.
We’ll just have to stay tuned to see which of these studies get published in the coming months.
As always, see the Guide for more information about dog cancer and current treatments.